Sunday, January 28, 2007

the political presence of non-photographs

It is not superfluous to remember that in one of the many gyrations of censorship (I do not remember the date; one head cannot hold that many bad memories) opposition magazines were forbidden to print photographs. Their writers, in a surrealistic move of the sort that has made Kafka more or less our foremost teller of tales and Alfred Jarry the most apt singer of our reality, left white spaces with captions underneath, maintaining headlines and describing in the empty space what the photo represented. This was not happenstance, or Zen-like foolishness, but the perfect metaphor for what we saw around us. Blind by decree we heard of things that our cruel and terrorized imaginations distorted to exhaustion. We came to fear our own shadows, as if all the mirrors had been placed under arrest.

Excerpt from the essay Fragments of a Self-Portrait by Marco Antonio de la Parra

Translated by Marcelo Montealegre

From the book Chile From Within, by Susan Meiselas

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