Thursday, May 13, 2010

Photography from the front lines

The New York Photo Festival may be a spotlight on new photography, but this year’s highlight is images that still burn 50 years after the fact.

Now through May 16, French photographer Marc Garanger’s photographs of Algerian women, taken from 1960-62 during the country’s War of Independence from France, will be on view at St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO.

The photographs were not any act of artistic anthropology; rather, Garanger took them under order by the French Army to serve as identity cards for Algerian women, who, as a result, were forced to remove their veils and show their faces in public, often for the first time. The black and white results are piercing, some, such as a woman in braids looking straight at the camera — at you — haunting.

Some of these photographs are being exhibited for the first time here, as part of the Festival exhibition “Bodies in Question,” curated by Fred Ritchin.

“[Garanger’s] extraordinary photographs of Algerian women unveiled are much more than the identity photos which the French army required of him 50 years ago; they show the women’s defiance, sense of betrayal, vulnerability, and enormous strength,” said Ritchin. “As such they become a revealing marker in the clash of civilizations that continues, and even intensifies, today.”

New York Photo Festival at St. Ann’s Warehouse [38 Water St. between Dock and Main streets in DUMBO, (718) 254-8779], now through May 16. For info, visit


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