Tourists at iconic sights almost automatically take photographs. This act becomes more complicated at memorials, sites, and museums that commemorate episodes of mass violence. I have photographed visitors and their screens at many such places. The people in my images are strangers who are mostly unaware of my intention, even though I use a hand-held 1940’s 4x5 press camera. My vintage equipment fits well with thinking about the present in terms of the past.
Entrance, Auschwitz II-Birkenau Death Camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Memorial and Museum. Republic of Poland
Raising a device between oneself and a site of atrocity can be seen as distancing and reductive. However an impulse to manage and diffuse what these places mean is understandable and perhaps necessary.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany
Often the memorials themselves depict the appalling, chaotic events they represent with unwarranted coherence or with the blankness of preserved artifacts. They invite engagement but also obstruct it.
Srebrebnica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The memorials and the photography each suggest questions: how to see these sites; how to empathize with the unknowable experiences of the people who were caught up in the events; how to understand the ways in which past horrors configure our present world; how to live with our knowledge.
Eternal Flame Memorial to the Victims of World War II from Sarajevo. Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The images are printed large - 22 x 28 inches - rendering hands, screen images, and screen icons close to life size.
Peace Park and Goddess of Peace Statue, Memorial Hall to the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre (Rape of Nanking). Nanjing, People’s Republic of China
Interrogation Cell at S21 Tuol Sleng Prison and Torture Center. Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
Memorial and Place of Meditation upon the Martyrdom of 65,000 Polish Citizens of Jewish Nationality from Cracow. Kasimierz, Republic of Poland
Site of Former Body-Burning Pit. Treblinka II Death Camp, Republic of Poland
Auschwitz I Concentration Camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Memorial and Museum. Oświęcim, Republic of Poland
Gas Chamber, Majdanek Concetration Camp. Majdanek State Museum, Lublin, Republic of Poland
Execution Posts, Breendonk Fortress Concentration Camp, Kingdom of Belgium
Guard Tower, Majdanek Concetration Camp. Majdanek State Museum, Lublin, Republic of Poland
Memorial Plaques on Crematorium Wall. Chełmno Death Camp Forest Site. Chełmno nad Varem, Republic of Poland
Stairway of Death. The Quarry, Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria
Czech National Cemetery, Theresienstadt Concentration Camp Small Fortress. Terezin, Czech Republic
Ryozen Kannon Memorial to the Dead of the Pacific War. Kyoto, Japan.
Tree Used for Smashing Children's Heads, Cheoung Ek Killing Fields. Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Hiroshima, Japan
Oklahoma City National Memorial. Oklahoma City, United States of America
National September 11 Memorial and Museum. New York, United States of America
"Hot Box" Iron Jail, Whitney Museum of Slavery. Louisiana, United States of America
Columbine School Shooting Memorial. Littleton, Colorado, United States of America
Massacre Memorial. Wounded Knee, S. Dakota, United States of America
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Picardy, Republic of France
WWI Cemetery for German Soldiers. Neuville St. Vaast, Kingdom of Belgium
Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Vimy Ridge, Near Arras, Republic of France. 2015
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, Republic of France
German Soldiers Cemetery, La Cambe, Normandy, Republic of France
Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Washington DC, United States of America