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One Wall, two prisons

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The introduction to This Place – a large format photobook (32.00 x 30.00 cm) with the works of twelve contemporary photographers – states how Frédéric Brenner, the project initiator, hopes his project will offer a ‘visual counterargument to prevailing, often polarized, representations’ of Israel and the West Bank. Whether the twelve photographers shared this utopian aspiration is hard to determine. The policy decision not to include any Israeli or Palestinian nationals was aimed at excluding those with entrenched positions on the subject matter and the photographers, given complete creative freedom, were outsiders who were not there to speak on behalf of any particular community. It is clear from some of their introductory comments in the book that they approached the project not suspiciously but warily. Most of the photographs were taken between 2009 and 2012 and it is hard to see what, if any, ‘visual counterargument’ emerges from the pages of This Place. One of the twelve, Wendy Ewald, worked collaboratively by giving cameras to groups of people to take their own pictures. Not surprisingly, deep divisions come to the...

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