Jul 05, 2016 @ 16:22 CET


Dear Ivan,

The victor writes history as he sees it. I concur, I believe that the culture, the identity of a nation determines its way of looking at events and of writing its history. How else could two differing descriptions of the same event exist? Is there even such a thing as a neutral representation?

The fallen depicted as heroes. A powerful scene for sure, those men, women and children displayed dramatically, turned into martyrs, presumably intended to invoke feeling rather than display dry fact. “J’accuse…!”, Émile Zola famously wrote in an open letter to his president in 1898 on the subject of anti-semitism. The Dreyfus affair divided France for nearly 12 years and became the archetypical example for miscarriage of justice while accusing the government’s misuse of power.

The limits of any given language. Turmoil. Telling any story in any shape or form alters it undeniably, again and again, the only safeguard between the actual reality and the story of it being told being the context of the person telling the story. His or her upbringing, his or her views of the world, his or her language, photography, painting, talking, writing skills. His or her mood. His or her health. His or her worries and aspirations.

A message of a deep reality that is by definition extremely faceted with a magnitude and multitude of factors like branches and trees all interplaying at an exact way in an exact point in time, all conveyed by a person that is himself constantly changing and limited in capacity to speak… it seems impossible.

We rely on categorisation, reduction and interpretation more than anything, and we trust our lives to others to reduce and interpret in a way that fits our own. Yet we mustn’t forget to constantly be aware of the extremely limited context we are only capable of.

Our world view is very local indeed. But that’s not a bad thing at all… just once in a while, we need to stop our urge to be victors all the time.

/// #image_by_image is an ongoing conversation between photographers Ivan Sigal and Anton Kusters@ivansigal @antonkusters on Instagram ///