July 05, 2016 @ 16:22 CET

Dear Ivan,

The victor writes history as he sees it. I concur. The culture, The identity of a nation shapes its way of looking at events and of writing its history. How else could differing descriptions of the same event exist? Is there even such a thing as a neutral representation?

The fallen depicted as heroes. A powerful scene, those men, women and children dramatically displayed, turned into martyrs, presumably intended to invoke feeling rather than a display of fact. “J’accuse…!”, Émile Zola famously wrote in an open letter to his president in 1898 on the subject of anti-semitism. The Dreyfus affair divided France for nearly 12 years and became the archetypical example of miscarriage of justice, accusing the government of misuse of power.

The limits of any given language. Turmoil. Telling any story in any shape or form undeniably alters it. The space between reality and how we represent it is the context of the person telling the story. Our upbringing, our views of the world, our language, photography, painting, talking, writing skills. Our moods. Our health. Our worries and aspirations.

Our attempts to perceive reality are inevitably faceted by a multitude of factors branching and interacting interplaying in an exact time and place, and conveyed by a person who is constantly changing and limited in capacity to speak. It seems impossible.

We rely on categorisation, reduction and interpretation more than anything, and we trust our lives to others to reduce and interpret in a way that fits our own. Yet we mustn’t forget to constantly be aware of our inevitably limited perspectives.

Our world view is local indeed. That’s not bad. Just once every now and again, we need to stop our urge to be victors. 

#image_by_image is an ongoing conversation between photographers Ivan Sigal and Anton Kusters.
@ivansigal @antonkusters on Instagram