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Flashpoints: Photojournalism exhibit depicts seminal moments of war and strife

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Giclee print from #Occupywallstreet Oct. 15, 2011 © Ashley Gilbertson/VIISilver print from Flashpoints: By Gilless Peress produced by Double Elephant Editions, New York, 1997 Union College Permanent Collection

“Flashpoints,” a critically acclaimed portfolio of photographs by international photojournalist Gilles Peress, will be on view in “Art or Evidence: The Power of Photojournalism,” at the Mandeville Gallery in the Nott Memorial.

The exhibit opens Jan. 3 and runs through March 10.

The photographs depict the conflicts in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, the Iranian Revolution and the genocide in Rwanda. They are part of the Union College Permanent Collection, a gift by Deborah Rosmarin ’86 of Greenwich, Conn.

The exhibit also includes 13 additional photographers represented by the photo agency VII whose work ranges from the battlefield to the social and political spheres of contemporary life. They are: Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Stefano De Luigi, Jessica Dimmock, Adam Ferguson, Ashley Gilbertson, Ron Haviv, Ed Kashi, Davide Monteleone, Christopher Morris, Seamus Murphy, Franco Pagetti, Anastasia Taylor-Lind and Tomas van Houtryve.

“The photojournalist’s practice is a complex – and dangerous – pursuit in the name of providing not a single truth, but knowledge to the public,” said Marie Costello, interim director of the Mandeville and the show’s curator.

“Through examination of these images we can gain an insight into the society’s needs and values. Experiencing these photographs in a gallery setting allows the time and space to contemplate both the events depicted and the forces involved in their production.”

In conjunction with the exhibit, photo editor Alison Morley, chair of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography in New York City, will give a talk Thursday, Feb. 7, 5 p.m., at the Nott Memorial.

A reception with light refreshments will follow. The event is free and open to the public.
Peress is a native of Paris who lives in Brooklyn. He teaches human rights and photography at Bard College and is a senior research fellow at UC Berkeley. His “Flashpoints” portfolio, produced by Double Elephant Editions, New York, in 1997, has been the focus of numerous exhibitions over the past decade.

"I work much more like a forensic photographer in a certain way… I’ve started to take more still-lifes, like a police photographer, collecting evidence as a witness,” Peress has said.  “I’ve started to borrow a different strategy than that of the classic photojournalist. The work is much more factual and much less about… ‘good photography.’ I’m gathering evidence for history, so that we remember.”