“When you point the camera to one side, you neglect the rest of the scene,” a protester once told me, adding: “People follow media outlets that confirm what’s already in their minds, not to get new information!” It was 2013, during the wave of uprisings and resulting crackdowns on Islamists across Egypt, and both media and confirmation bias were the charge. (Subjectivity reigned over objectivity.)
For this series, I pulled together images from my 2013-2014 archive: the army’s ouster of President Morsi in July; the pro-Morsi sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square that followed; the Rabaa massacre of at least 800 protesters on August 14; various protests and marches, plus the constitutional referendum, the presidential election, as well as the trials of Islamists; and the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution.
By layering three exposures into each picture, I attempted to thoughtfully address that protester’s urgent charge: thus, multiples scenes and sides are seen all at once. (Singularity eclipsed by complexity.) Moreover, the conceptual basis of the work illustrated my own personal reflection on the dilemma of depicting the Rabaa massacre without objectifying the victims. In other words, through this method, I rejected the usual one-sided depiction— that being, the unbearable concentration on just one face, body, or scene.