Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No Man's Land

Black and white and all the nuances of grey describe a world of shadows, this is the latest exhibition at the Newcomb Art Gallery on the Tulane campus titled " The History of the Future". Two photographers, Michael Berman and Julian Cordona depict the desert and the migrants crossing the Mexico/U.S. border with fifty or more works.

At a time when most people are looking for a few seconds of celebrity, in the world of illegal migrants, it is difficult to find the subject. The photographer has done a great job offering a glimpse of a few decisive seconds in people's life, like catching the anxious look of a passenger in a car when the border guard is looking at her documents.
Tears, joy, death, fear, the subjects are between a past they are leaving and an uncertain future, and all is said in one shot. Sometimes the photographer arrives too late, and finds only the remnants of life: piles of abandoned clothes, plastic bottles, rags in the brushes. Humans are hounded like animals, driven by their thirst, hunger and betrayed by shoe tracks in the sand, a disturbed stone or flatten bushes.

The other side of the exhibition is about the landscape with breathtaking photographs of an endless, mournful desert sculptured by weather, unforgiving but beautiful in its sparsity and minimalism. There are no shelters in this unforgiving environment but remnants from thousands of unseen, where did they come from , where did they go? One can hear the silence.

The immensity of the desert becomes the refuge of these souls abandoned between two worlds.

I found this exhibition well-balanced with the two photographers describing the story of these countless lives and their interaction with an unforgiving environment. The size of the photographs, framing and colors (black, white, grey) make the overall show look monotonous.

Two photojournalists lost between reporting and art or art in reporting.

photographs by the author

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