"Facing Victims"
Project info

The contemporary conflicts are generally classified as "new wars," which are primarily characterized by a changed type of warfare. In the new wars, non-state actors intimidate civilians through mass killings, brutal and coercive acts, and destabilization strategies. The classical rules of warfare in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century - which grant civilians noncombatant immunity from violence - are challenged in the contemporary conflicts, where "the distinction between civilian and military" has virtually disappeared.

As photographers we tend to visit conflict and disaster zones for a short time hoping that through our photos others can get to know about the victims of injustice or unnecessary violence, people who without our photo coverage would probably be unknown or soon forgotten. However who or what are victims, and what do we know about them? In reality, questions relating to the concept and identity of victims are highly problematic, because our attitudes towards victims and how they should be dealt with photographically are likely to be shaped by the brief assumptions we make about them in our short encounter with them, which may not always be well founded. Moreover viewers of such imagery do not always know the history hidden behind the shots or the circumstances. Viewers just see the photographer visual concept.

The aim of this series has been to raise questions regarding the identity of the victims I met and let the viewer answer these questions on their own. Some of the images are outtakes from commissioned assignments in troubled areas across several countries.