Overview participating photographers
Following the economic crisis, the protest movement of Occupy Wall Street arose in New York in 2011 in opposition to the greed in the financial sector and the gap between rich and poor. The mass media characterised the protest as the work of extremists, punks, anarchists, and criminals with a vague set of demands. The Ukrainian photographer Sasha Bezzubov wanted to show that the demonstrators came from diverse walks of life to make clear how widespread the support for the protests was. As such, he illustrates the sheer depths of discontent with the financial sector and the extent to which the various economic problems affect a large majority of the population.
Born and raised in the Thai capital Bangkok, the photographer Withit Chanthamarit knows as well as anyone how political protests can paralyze that city at any minute. Although they are a familiar phenomenon, the motives of the demonstrators are sometimes difficult to comprehend. In his series Transplantation Chanthamarit records the activists while they are occupying parks, roads, bridges, government buildings, and even military bunkers. His is the street scene of tents, barricades and rubble that, according to Chanthamarit, could become an everyday occurrence as a result of the present political unrest.
Stefano De Luigi
Like other European countries, Italy finds itself confronted by an identity crisis, says photographer Stefano De Luigi. The welfare state, political institutions and industry are being faced with radical restructuring – a consequence of the economic crisis that has brought several countries to the edge of the precipice. Particularly for the Italian middle class, this restructuring is anything but painless. They see the prosperity that they were able to build in the 1990s slowly slipping away again. With Screamers De Luigi documents the protests in favour of a system that guaranteed more citizens stability and prosperity than ever before.
Giorgio di Noto
In his series Tunisi, 8.6.2013 the young Italian photographer Giorgio Di Noto investigates the way in which photos were made and circulated in the countries of the Arab Spring. Using the background lighting of the screens of mobile phones and smartphones, Di Noto projected the photos that their owners had made with them onto photo paper. He invited the phone's owners through social media to come to a provisional darkroom in Tunis for that purpose. In this way he recorded what pictures the participants had made, as permanent evidence of the important role of digital communication and distribution channels in the uprising in Tunisia.
In 2005, to get back to het Egyptian roots, English-born Laura El-Tantawy began a photographic exploration into the essence of Egyptian identity. Her series In the Shadow of the Pyramids must therefore not be seen as a story about Egypt, but rather as El-Tantawy’s vision of the country, underpinned by childhood memories and the struggle to understand herself and her place in the world. With the events of the Arab Spring, her focus widened to include the transition from Mubarak's dictatorship to the uncertain future ahead. The parts shown here, 'Tahir Square' and 'Faces of a Revolution', examine the events of the Arab Spring.
In February, 2014, Maidan Square, in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, was the scene of a bloody confrontation between opponents of president Yanukovych and his riot police. In March, after Yanukovych was deposed and had fled to Russia, Kirill Golovchenko photographed the square. The barricades that the demonstrators had thrown up on the square for their protection had now deteriorated into an almost unreal artefact of the revolution. According to Golovchenko, they are a symbol of the Ukrainian society. For the umpteenth time the country stands at the beginning of a new chapter in its history. If the political situation shows signs of improvement, they will be torn down; otherwise new barricades will be added to them.
Vladyslav Krasnoshchok & Sergiy Lebedynskyy
When in January, 2014, the peaceful protests on Maidan Square in Kiev erupted into a violent and bloody confrontation due to the interventions of the police and army, the Ukrainian photographers Vladyslav Krasnoshchok and Sergiy Lebedynskyy couldn’t remain indifferent. They immediately travelled to Kiev and sought to literally stand their ground with their cameras in the midst of the violence and biting cold. They stayed on the square for two days, to record as much of what was happening there as they could. Despite having no helmets, gas masks or orange press vests, they survived the events without a scratch and left the city with all their photos.
The photographer Frederic Lezmi lives a couple of blocks from Taksim Square in Istanbul. He found himself on the front line when the peaceful protests against the reconstruction of Gezi Park, right next to Taksim Square, began, and were viciously suppressed by the police. For his poster book #Taksim Calling Lezmi combined spontaneously taken iPhone photos met idyllic picture post cards of Taksim Square. The book is designed in the form of a newspaper, with separate, oversized pages. While the post cards on the one side of the pages emphasize the importance of Taksim Square for the identity of the Turkish Republic, the images of the protests on the other side emphasize the kaleidoscopic character of the Turkish activists, without interpreting or evaluating the events.
Marcelo Enrique Londoño Alvarez
Since Rio de Janeiro was named at the host city for the World Championship Football in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, a remarkable scenario of political and social reform has been underway, reports Marcelo Enrique Londoño Alvarez. These sports events have been and are being used as an excuse for justifying the clearance of parts of the favelas, Rio’s poor neighbourhoods. Their residents are being driven out to the edges of the city, to improve security, while the violent actions of masked police in the favelas strike fear into Brazilians. That also applies to the conduct of the police outside the favelas: social protests by citizens receive considerable attention in Brazil and internationally, but the demonstrators are treated as hooligans.
In October, 2011, the international Occupy movement set up a semi-permanent camp near St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Ten days later the British media reported that thermographic photos showed that people were present overnight in only 25 of the 250 tents on the square in front of the cathedral. The photographer Ben Roberts did not trust this reporting, and recorded the tent camp. He photographed the communal and private accommodations for the five months they stood on the square. The evidence of activity and residence offered proof of the intensive use of the limited space by a large number of permanent and temporary residents.
Nepotisme, corruptie, achterkamertjespolitiek, sterke lobby’s van grote bedrijven en leiders die ten koste van alles aan de macht willen blijven – fotograaf Johann Rousselot vraagt zich af of de hedendaagse democratie wordt bedreigd. Tegelijkertijd stelt hij echter vast dat de wereld nog nooit zoveel burgeropstanden heeft gezien als de laatste jaren. Hij heeft bewondering voor de moed, energie en verbroedering die gepaard gaat met politieke protesten, ongeacht het succes dat de demonstranten ermee hebben. In deze roerige tijden voor de democratie zijn ze volgens Rousselot onmisbaar geworden. Zijn gelaagde collages, waarin portretten gecombineerd worden met gevonden beeldelementen op basis van de kenmerken van de betreffende beweging, zetten de actievoerders als militante iconen neer.
Since 2009, Greece has been confronted by the consequences of a heavy economical crisis. The successive reconstructive financial measures taken, following the aid loans from the European Union safety net, the IMF, have destroyed social cohesion, have put the middle classes under enormous pressure, and have brought tremendous misery to society. The countless demonstrations in Athens against government cuts were characterised by the confrontations with riot police; with hundreds injured as a result. During these confrontations, Angelos Tzortzinis operated between the lines of demonstrators and those of the police. According to him, it can only be hoped that the current economical circumstances will indeed improve over the coming years, as the current Greek government claims, for the crisis has inflicted deep wounds in Greek society.
With the peace accord that brought an end to the civil war in 1991 and the surrender of the Khmer Rouge in 1998, Cambodia seemed to be leaving its past behind it. Thanks to a UN peace mission, democracy was established in the first half of the 1990s, although that proved to be largely in name only: premier Hun Sen has been in power since 1985, making him the longest-sitting head of government in the region. His long tenure can be credited to his autocratic, corrupt and often violent policies. The rapid economic growth, the corrupt legal system, and a fundamental change in the social structures have created an enormous gap between the rich and poor. Independent civil rights organizations, in most cases a result from unlawful land expropriation, resist the daily erosion of Cambodians' human rights.