Revealed / Reveiled.
Revealed / Reveiled is an experimental project which explores ideas of identity and obstruction. As the title suggests, with all that is shown, something else is lost and with all that is seen something else is also missed. Using images from Marc Garanger’s Femmes Algeriennes, the images have been digitally recoded in order to interrupt the depiction of the subjects’ faces while questioning the power dynamics between photographer and subject.
In 1960, Garanger was a soldier for the French army and was instructed to collect photographs of citizens of Algeria for ID Cards. His subjects were predominantly women and were required to unveil for the photo, revealing in a series shamed, vulnerable and angry Algerian women. Still in circulation, Garanger has used these photographs as a documentation of the French oppression imposed on the Algerians in an attempt to claim justice for the women photographed.
In this series, the notion of being “reveiled” is twofold, not only in that Fatemi has manipulated what elements of the portraits the viewer sees, but also how the viewer naturally veils the subject with their own judgement while trying to piece together the subject’s identity. Using the glitch as a form of redaction and a restorative gesture, it serves as a veil from the “whole” identity of the subject and urges the audience to yield toward understanding the complexities of the women depicted and their lives under oppression. By recoding each image to obstruct the subjects face, and returning anonymity and dignity to the citizens, these photographs function as more than just portraits. Fatemi reclaims the identity of the women and compels the viewer to experience them anonymously on their terms, while inviting the viewer to reflect and reconcile that identity is not a complete picture, but fragments brought together to create the idea of a whole.