Do I exploit my subjects? Is it morally justifiable to work as a photographer in war zones and disaster areas? Why are we all so attracted to images of other people’s misery? Am I producing »War Porn«?
As a photographer covering conflicts and natural disasters for international publications, Christoph Bangert (b. 1978) is regularly confronted with a dilemma: On the one hand he tries to document events as truthful to his own experience as possible but on the other hand he needs to accommodate several layers of self-censorship. The first layer of selfcensorship is located inside of his own brain. Bangert has no recollection at all of taking some of the pictures seen in the book. The second layer of self-censorship is executed by the publications he works for, the third layer is the viewer’s.
Using his images taken during the past ten years in Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Gaza, Bangert started an experiment: What would happen if we suppressed our need for self-censorship for once? The result is a raw, intense, mysterious, brutal and at times maybe a shocking and controversial book. It is as highly personal as it is honest in its quest for an alternative view of our world.
Designed by Teun van der Heijden, Chiho Bangert and Klaus Kehrer, the book is also a collector's item: The small format, open spine binding, rough cover material and typewriter font are reminiscent of a handmade, personal journal. Some of the pages are not cut apart, but have a perforation which can easily be ripped open. This way the reader can decide just how much he wants to see, how much he can take. Spreads between these "hidden" images, naturally, are open to view.
Authors: Christoph Bangert
Artists: Christoph Bangert
Designed by Teun van der Heijden, Chiho Bangert, Klaus Kehrer
12 x 16 cm
98 color ills.