June 05, 2017 @ 17:13 CET


Dear Ivan,

I imagine those lines in your images as an installation, as actual layers on the land below, an added context. Altering a site of trauma, a site with nothing left to see, by adding a past context that isn’t anymore visible in any other way. Literally laying down lines and arrows on the ground, shading areas and blurring others, like a dark Christo.

As I’m being immersed in the Second World War, your satellite view reminds me of a similar view, that from the planes of the bomb squads themselves, looking through their precious Norden bombsights flying over from an unassailable position and dropping death below. During the war, both Arthur Harris and Curtis LeMay staunchly kept defending and executing a new found tactic: to bomb civilian populations, believing that this would shorten the war, even if only for a day. Victory is near. How hollow it was.

In effect, they set morality aside in a time we all needed it most, and history proved the countless bombing victories a devastating senseless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, destroying millions of homes, barely harming any military industrial complex at all. The terms “precision bombing”, “collateral damage” and “necessary evil” all were invented… and so was napalm.

All in the while, entire populations below are forced to reckon with a new reality: death from above. Frantically running around in the destroyed cities of Europe, like ghosts in their own homes now turned into post-apocalyptic landscapes, incessantly looking for shelter, safety and surviving relatives. Having no home anymore but not being able to flee either. Four hundred million cubic metres of rubble.

And at the top, dismissive statements like “there are no innocent civilians”. Cold calculations of how many civilians lives are worth a certain strategic advantage. The arrogance of Truman at Potsdam, already having decided to show his power a few days later.

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