From the Archive: En route to Penang
I recently took a workshop at the International Summer School Program (ISSP) in Latvia. My mentor was Simon Norfolk, and the theme of the workshop was “photographing the past.”
One of photography’s most interesting challenges is uncovering the often painful histories that surround us – their hiddenness, unsayability and the wreckage the past leaves behind. In this workshop, the students will each develop a story concerning local histories in the village of Pelči, Kuldīga, Latvia or the broader region of Eastern Europe.
We were required to do research 2 months before the start of the workshop on our chosen topic. For this workshop I decided to photograph various massacre sites of the Jewish Holocaust in Latvia.
One of the darkest periods in Indonesia occurred between 1965-1966 when approximately 500,000 people were slaughtered during the anti-Communist purge. Growing up in the States, I knew very little about these killings. Researching about the holocaust for this workshop, I found haunting photographs, maps, and testimony about the Jewish massacres in Latvia. How could I ever understand events so horrific, so appalling? I decided to visit the killing sites. In my mind I expected to see historical memorials and stark reminders of the past. But instead, there was the glowing Latvian sun rising over towering trees, the soothing sounds of the lapping Baltic, and I touched the cool breeze that gently swayed the tall grass. But, underneath these pleasurable sensations and majestic views there is a silent protest and my heart is overwhelmed by a sense of loss: a loss of humanity; of loved ones; of culture and community; of evidence; and a loss of memory.
“For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences” (Elie Wiesel).
My photos from Chongqing has been published on Turkish Aksiyon Weekly.
By the Water. Chongqing, China 2013
China’s most famous Huangguoshu Waterfall, (黃果树大瀑 [Huángguǒshù Dà Pù]; Yellow Fruit Tree Waterfall). 2013