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National Post photographer, Brett Gundlock was one of the 304 protestors arrested during the G20 protests in Toronto, last June.

Since last Summer, and dissatisfied generally with the representation of the protests, Gundlock has tracked down many of those also taken into custody. He has asked each of them to provide a (very) short statement on the experience of being processed through protest-policing and city jail.

In March, Gundlock will mount a show for the portraits and accompanying testimonies. For this he has already crowdfunded the $1,500 necessary via RocketHub. You can read more about the project here or you can watch Gundlock’s video intro.

Picturing Victimhood

Gundlock’s portraits are rather austere, which probably fairly reflects the seriousness with which many protestors take to their direct actions. In formal arrangement, they echo the look of two very famous photographers before him.

Marc Garanger, a young French soldier was pressed into a fortnight of taking 2000 identity pictures of Algierian women. Garanger considered himself – as military man and photographer – as an aggressor. His female subjects as victims. Although, as Fred Ritchin describes, when Garanger returned to Algeria decades later he was warmly received by the sitters and their families. And thus squashing the simplistic presumptions of the Western audience.

Richard Avedon’s In The American West was the work of a fascinated, brave yet perverse outsider. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of In The American West was that Avedon – under the guise of fine art – used his camera to adopt an outsider engagement with his subject akin to ethnographic research. In 20th century America, no less.

Whatever we might think of Avedon’s awe and reverence to his cowboys and oil-workers, they are set up as victims by means of their exclusion from the comfortable predictability of majority America.

Photographically, one end of the spectrum (Garanger, Avedon, Gundlock) depicts victims quiet and silent, while the other has them wailing in grief and duress. I’d suggest in this visual environment, Gundlock has made the right decision to ask for written recollections of the moment from his subjects.

Brett Gundlock is part of Boreal Collective.

Found via drool


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