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Showing posts from October, 2012

A Launch Party for "Narco Estado"

Tuen Voeten goes where angels fear to tred. Few willingly plunge into African war zones or the Mexican drug chaos except souls equipped with a camera and very steady nerves. Voeten, a Dutch photojournalist, follows the action and returns with portfolios that give witness to the terror and humanity found far from his European home.

I met Voeten at a launch event for his latest book, Narco Estado, held at Ye Olde Carlton Arms Hotel in New York. Published by Lannoo Publishers in Belgium, the book contains Voeten’s photos taken during 2009-2011, when drug killings rocketed in Ciudad Juarez, the site of many of the photos, along with the cities of Culiacan and Monterrey. I read daily about the situation in Mexico at Borderland Beat and Frontera List (where I learned of the launch event), and Voeten gives visual shape to the horrific stories. Bodies lie sprawled in cars, on streets, in fields, in buildings, neighbors silently watch the police on the scene, a man with a vision cares for the …

Ritual and Violation Through the Ages

Here's something new at Times of Israel, touching on issues of ritual and Jewish practice covered in the book. It starts,
The new 9-ll attack in Libya and its aftermath sickened me with images of the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and reports of the violation of his body, dragged through the streets of Benghazi. Seeing the bloody handprints of Americans on a pillar reminded me of the photo from the 2000 lynching of two IDF reservists in Ramallah, as Aziz Salha waved his blood-drenched hands in triumph after the killings, which also involved the reservists’s bodies being dragged through the streets.  Separated by almost 12 years but united by the barbarism of the perpetrators, these two acts coincide with thoughts I’ve had lately on death, the rituals of mourning and the deep anguish caused when those rituals are violated.  With Yom Kippur passed, with its reflections on life and death, I’m struggling to find a narrative thread connecting horrific media images. They contra…