Evidence of absence.

I was struck some time ago by the emotional impact that Gustavo Germano’s images of ‘absence’ had on me. A simple concept, applying ‘rephotography’ techniques to the human/political landscape to show the evidence of absence in Argentina, the empty spaces previously inhabited by the ‘los desaparecidos’ (the missing), victims of the political upheaval of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Omar Dario Amestoy and Mario Alfredo Amestoy © Gustavo Germano

I was reminded of this work on reading Madeleine’s recent and very thought-provoking post ‘Not Ruining the Photo’ and the subsequent debate it elicited, regarding image ‘pairs’, before and after, and whether the presence of the second image in any way impacted on the first.

I’m not offering any great insights here, simply flagging up the work of Germano in case some of you have not come across it before. It’s well worth a look at, and speaking personally, it continues to exert a powerful influence on me. And I guess it also encapsulates the sentiment of this post by duck, about the power that giving a name to the nameless has, and the dignity such a simple act may confer.

Interestingly, the images are currently being used by Amnesty as part of a campaign titled ‘Desaparecidos’, info on Creative Review and also ff3300

Older article from the Unesco Courier here also.

John MacPherson was born and lives in the Scottish Highlands. He trained as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, before completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and then qualified as a Social Worker in Disability Services. Along the way he has cooked on canal barges, trained as an Alpine Ski Leader & worked as an Instructor for Skiers with disabilities, been a canoe instructor, and tutor of night classes in carpentry, stained glass design and manufacture, and archery. He has travelled extensively on various continents, undertaking solo trips by bicycle, or motorcycle. He has had narrow escapes from an ambush by terrorists, been hit by lightning, caught in an erupting volcano, trapped in a mobile home by a tornado, kidnapped by a dog's hairdresser, rammed by a basking shark and was once bitten by a wild otter. He has combined all this with professional photography, which he has practised for over 35 years. He teaches photography and acts as a photography guide & tutor in the UK and abroad. His biggest challenge is keeping his 27 year old Land Rover 110 on the road. He loves telling and hearing stories.

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