Collective troubles, breaks in the natural order, obstructions of justice, human rights violations, forced displacements, armed conflict, the slow or abrupt death of industries – photographers have been diligently telling the tales of rupture throughout the turbulent early years of our 21st Century. Their provocative works, some taken at great personal risk, others meticulously staged to bring attention to emerging crises, address a variety of subjects, including environmental degradation, border conflict and management, war and violence, mass migration, and the failures of political and ideological systems. They force us to confront our civilization’s blind spots and its failures, with images varying from the dispassionately abstract to the emotionally engaging.

95 | Rupture

Penelope Umbrico

TVs from Craigslist

2008 – in corso

Courtesy the artist

For this extensive grid of television sets, Umbrico downloaded images of used TV’s from Craigslist, cropped all but the screen, and enlarged them to the scale of the TV. Although unwittingly, the inadvertent ‘self-portraits’ of the sellers end up as a collective portrait of consumerism, or ironically in this case, of consumers trying to get rid of something which has become an encumbrance. Once a shining beacon bringing in news of the world outside our living rooms, these television sets are more likely destined for the rubbish heap, and probably shipped overseas to be picked apart by human scavengers.

96 | Rupture

Cássio Vasconcellos



from series Collectives

Courtesy the artist

In the twenty-first century, it is possible to be picked up on one continent and put down on another in a matter of hours. Two million people are in the air at any one time, in comfort and security, an airborne city the size of Brisbane or Perth. Vasconcellos treats the subject both literally (the components of his images are all of real life) and figuratively (the one-thousand- plus components are stitched together to amplify the sense of civilisational complexity). Aeroporto is for the artist ‘a surreal portrait of globalization, mobility and the speed of our way of life’.

97 | Rupture

Mishka Henner

Field (North Ward Estes Oil Field, Ward County, Texas)


Courtesy the artist

“The Nazca had their lines, and the Americans have their oilfields; the latter have carved an industrial logic into the earth.” So writes Mishka Henner about this veritable sea of oil, pumping without stop to keep the heart of American culture beating. Henner has stitched together hundreds of satellite images to capture this vast reality. He sees the resulting quilt of ‘pumpjacks’ in a metaphoric sense: each one has a legal name, and as such, “they are America’s real citizens, they are the reason America goes to war. They are the rhythm in its soundtrack.”

98 | Rupture

Alejandro Cartagena

from left to right

Mother at the Mexico-USA border wall Daughter at the USA-Mexico border wall


from series Without Walls

Courtesy the artist and Kopeikin Gallery

Heartache often seems to accompany the topic of migration, whatever its local roots and stark realities, and no more vividly than in this meeting of a mother and daughter at the Mexico–US border wall. Cartagena has photographed such places and encounters for more than a decade. ‘There is a line’, he notes, ‘a physical yet invisible line. Families are divided by it, but are determined to find a way to reunite … [My photographic series] present an opportunity to rethink what this wall is and why it will never divide the life that surrounds it.’

99 | Rupture

Richard Misrach

Wall, near Brownsville, Texas, 2013


from series Border Cantos

Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

The concept of ‘the Wall’, especially during the US political administration of Trump, continues to preoccupy and bedevil American political life. But it has long been a divisive issue, speaking figuratively as well as literally. Where do walls end? Where do they begin? Misrach’s lone piece, which doesn’t seem to present much of an obstacle, highlights the ultimate absurdity of trying to keep people apart.

100 | Rupture

Pablo López Luz

San Diego – Tijuana XI, Frontera USA-Mexico


from series Frontera

Courtesy the artist

Luz’s two-year Frontera project sought to spark a conversation by approaching the contentious subject of the USA–Mexico border from a fresh perspective. Entering the political space by exploring the original imposition of the territorial boundary, Luz used the height afforded by a helicopter to take this photograph, which suggests that we need vivid imagery to tackle abstract notions. The border, therefore, appears as a visual as well as symbolic scar in the topography and social construct of the region. This barrier, inscribed in nature, has permeated the collective imagination of border societies.

101 | Rupture

Michael Light

Looking East Over Unbuilt “Ascaya” lots, Black Mountain Beyond, Henderson, Nevada


from series Black Mountain

Courtesy the artist and Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco

One might see Michael Light almost as a visual archeologist, such is his interest in ‘showing how we live on the land as tool-bearing humans’. Armed with his tiny 100-horsepower aircraft and camera – he prefers to be in the air rather than count on a drone – Light explores the arid American west, in this case abandoned housing lots having an eerie resemblance to ancient earthworks. The site could, he reminds us, be anywhere: ‘as in Las Vegas, so in Dubai’. More generally, he takes to the air to search out ‘civilisational structures which offer us a wholesale view of our excessively retailed lives.’

102 | Rupture

Francesco Zizola

In the same boat

An overcrowded rubber dinghy sailed from the Libyan coast is approached by the MSF Bourbon Argos search and rescue ship. 26 August 2015.

Courtesy the artist and Noor images

Zizola informs us that an overcrowded rubber dinghy that has sailed from Libya is being approached by the MSF Bourbon Argos, a search and rescue ship, on 26 August 2015. We are not told how long these people have been at sea, nor what specific fate awaits them. Most likely, the photographer doesn’t know. But this poignant photograph captures a shared moment and a shared mood, of fear, doubt, concern, resignation and, if not hope, perhaps a cautious optimism – and all borne collectively.

103 | Rupture

Nadav Kander

The Polygon Nuclear Test Site XII (Dust To Dust), Kazakhstan


from series Dust

Courtesy Flowers Gallery, Londra

While researching large cities in Russia with a view to starting a photographic project, Kander encountered two smaller towns that had been kept secret: Kurchatov and Priozersk (formerly known as Moscow 10). These places on the Russia–Kazakhstan border had never appeared on maps until Google Earth ‘discovered’ them. Although Kander was told that these towns were mostly destroyed, this and an interest in what he calls ‘the aesthetics of destruction’ only enhanced his desire to know more. Ruins conjure paradoxical emotions. We are simultaneously frightened and mesmerised by destruction – as we are by death.

104 | Rupture

Danila Tkachenko

from the top

Airplane – amphibia with vertical take-off VVA14. The USSR built only two of them in 1976, one of which has crashed during transportation. Russia, Moscow area

The world’s largest diesel submarine. Russia, Samara region


from series Restricted areas

Courtesy Kehrer Galerie

Danila Tkachenko travels in search of deserted places that used to hold great importance for the dream of technological progress. He sees his work as a means of dealing with the human desire for utopia through technological achievements, humans always believing that the next best thing will bring us happiness and fulfilment. Among the human-built things he searches out are the tools of violence engineered by powerful governments. Many of the sites were once secret, off-the-map places that are now forgotten. What’s important for the photographer is to bear witness to what remains after the Utopian impulse has ground to a halt.

105 | Rupture

Xing Danwen



Courtesy the artist and Boers Li Gallery

In her sinuous compositions from disCONNEXION, Danwen has chosen to tackle one of the collective marks humankind leaves on the natural landscape. On average, she notes, our mobile phones are obsolete in two years – where do they go? Along the coast of southern China in the early 2000s, hundreds of thousands of workers earned their living by dismantling and burning piles of computer and electronic components in order to extract bits of copper, brass, aluminium and zinc for resale, operating in rough environmental and social conditions. The large scale of the works symbolises the immensity of our global e-wastelands.

106 | Rupture

Ashley Gilbertson

from the top

Army Cpl. Brandon M. Craig, 25, was killed by a roadside bomb on July 19, 2007 in Husayniyah, Iraq. He was from Earleville, Maryland. His bedroom was photographed in February, 2010.

Marine Cpl. Christopher G. Scherer, 21, was killed by a sniper on July 21, 2007, in Karmah, Iraq. He was from East Northport, New York. His bedroom was photographed in February, 2009.


from series Bedrooms of The Fallen

Courtesy the artist

For decades, the United States has been involved in military engagement so far from the public eye as to risk being forgotten. With Bedrooms of the Fallen, Gilbertson reminds us that conflicts occurring in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq have far-reaching consequences on both sides, far from the noise of battle. Travelling throughout the US, he has documented homes of family and friends who remain and bear their grief out of view. Left intact by families of the deceased, the bedrooms are a poignant reminder of American lives cut short.

107 | Rupture

Walter Niedermayr

Schnalstalgletscher 56 2011


from series Alpine Landschaften (Alpine Landscapes)

Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake Berlino/Stoccolma e Galerie Johann Widauer Innsbruck

The diptych was created in midsummer 2011 and shows a transformation in two aspects. The first is the glacier, which in the course of the year transforms from a snow-covered surface to an eroding ice surface with crevasses, until it is covered by snow again in autumn. The second transformation is the one that results from the effects of the various snow sports: skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, etc. This requires various equipment, machines and containers. All these physical. elements serve to build a leisure park on the glacier. However, Niedermayr’s distanced perspective suggests a troubling disconnect between human exploitation and a respect for nature.

108 | Rupture

Chris Jordan

from the top

CF000401 CF000774 CF000441


from series Midway: Message from the Gyre

Courtesy the artist

These photographs, of plastics ingested by birds, come as a shock to most people. The images depict a global reality of consumption and environmental pollution. The photographer does not mince his words: ‘Looking into the many dimensions of contemporary consumer culture, it is hard to avoid concluding that there is a slow-motion apocalypse in progress. I am appalled by the destructiveness of humanity’s collective will, and yet also drawn to it with awe and fascination. The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity.’

109 | Rupture

Raphaël Dallaporta


From the series Antipersonnel

Courtesy Edition Xavier Barral, Galleria Jean-Kenta Gauthier

Dallaporta’s extensive series of landmines is, while chilling, not without a certain cynical humour. We cannot ignore the fact that a good number of them are beautiful to look at. Perhaps their designers take commissions for perfume bottles at the same time, to make ends meet! Dallaporta forces us to ask ourselves what kind of people sit down at a desk to work out the best way of killing their unsuspecting fellow humans, or better still, maiming them for life (far more expensive for your enemy)? And what do we think of our own government’s pretty contribution to this abomination?

first column from left, from the top

AP-2, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, A-200, Germany This mine was used by Nazi forces during the Second World War; it was nicknamed the “mustard pot.”, d: 80mm , wght: 550g

AP-17, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, MI AP DV 61, France Designed for use in Algeria, the MI AP DV 61 antipersonnel blast mine is provided with an integral stake that stops it being displaced in sandy, desert conditions. It can be detonated by either footfall pressure or a tripwire. Before France banned the production of AP mines, MI AP DV 61s were manufactured by ALSETEX, in Mulhouse, France., h: 275mm , wght: 125g

AP-25/, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, R2M2, South Africa Pressure of 3kg on a R2M2 blast mine will detonate the 58g of RDX/wax explosive it contains. Its plastic construction means that it is extremely difficult to detect. South African-made landmines have been found in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Cambodia., d: 57mm , wght: 128g

AP-35 , Submunition, BLU-26/B , USA Each BLU-26/B submunition is armed by centrifugal force after its release from a CBU-24/B bomb. The 670 submunitions in each bomb explode on impact with the ground, each releasing 600 razor-sharp steel shards. It is estimated that at the end of USA’s 1964-1973 bombing campaign in Laos over 9 million BLU-26 submunitions were left on the ground. Unexploded BLU-26/Bs cannot be disarmed., d: 60mm , wght: 400g

second column from left, from the top

AP-1, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, TYPE-72B, China Type 72 blast mines are said to make up 100 million of China’s 110 million antipersonnel landmine stockpiles (Chinese officials claim this figure to be exaggerated). Manufactured by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), Type-72s are reportedly priced at US$3 each. The Type-72B includes an anti- handling mechanism that makes it impossible to neutralize or disarm—if the mine is moved more than 8° from the horizontal, it will explode, amputating the limb that activated it., d: 76mm , wght: 150g

AP-8, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, No. 4, Israel The No. 4 antipersonnel blast mine contains 188g of TNT that explodes under 8kg of pressure. Used in Israel, Lebanon and the Falkland Islands, the No. 4 has been copied by Egypt (T.78) and Iran (No. 4)., w: 130mm, wght: 348g

AP-20, Antipersonnel Directional , Fragmentation Mine, M-18/A1, USA A “Claymore” directional fragmentation mine releases 700 steel balls when detonated by a hand-turned dynamo, a tripwire or, when used with the “Matrix” system, remotely using a laptop computer. (Multiple Claymores can also be linked together using a detonator cord.) A 1966 Department of the Army field manual states that, “the number of ways in which the Claymore may be employed is limited only by the imagination of the user.” In September 2002 (the most recent available statistics), Claymores made up 403,096 of the 10,404,148 landmines stockpiled by the USA., w: 210mm, wght: 1.58kg

AP-30, Submunition, F1, France An Ogre F1 155mm shell—containing 63 dual-purpose bomblets, each weighing 244g—can be fired up to 35km. Each shell leaves a footprint of 10,000-18,000 square meters, depending on range. Until 1998, the Ogre F1 was manufactured by Versailles-based Giat Industries (now Nexter). In 2008, the French government admitted that its signing of the Oslo cluster-munitions treaty would mean that its Ogre F1 stockpile would have to be destroyed., d: 45mm , wght: 244g

third column from left, from the top

AP-5, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, ARTISANAL LANDMINE, Bosnia This homemade antipersonnel landmine was found in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The detonation mechanism mounted on an explosive-filled plastic jar comes from a Yugoslav PMA-2 blast mine. In 2005—10 years after the end of the war— landmines killed 34 people in BiH., d: 60mm , wght: 500g

AP-12, Antipersonnel Bounding Fragmentation Mine, V-69, Italy The V-69 antipersonnel bounding fragmentation mine can be set off by footfall pressure or through a tripwire. When detonated the fuse sets off propellant gases that fire the mine’s inner body 45cm above the ground. This explodes sending out more than 1,000 pieces of chopped steel. Between 1982 and 1985, its manufacturer Valsella sold around 9 million V-69s to Iraq. The mine was given a nickname by Iraqi minelayers: the “Broom.”, d: 120mm , wght: 3.2kg

AP-4, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, PFM-1, Russian Federation Known as the “Butterfly” mine, the PFM-1 scatterable antipersonnel mine is a copy of the US-made BLU-43/B “Dragon’s Tooth.” Widely used by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the liquid explosive in the bulbous section of the mine is activated by pressure of 5-25kg. The VSM-1 minelaying system can lay 7,424 PFM-1s over a length of 2km from a single delivery container mounted on a helicopter., l: 88mm , wght: 75g

AP-33, Submunition, AO-2.5RTM, Russian Federation A Soviet-era submunition, each AO-2.5RTM weighs 2.5kg, is armed by centrifugal motion during descent and has a destructive area of 210 square meters. The bomblets are delivered in RBK-500 dispersers, each holding 108 AO-2.5RTMs. The submunitions were used both by the Russian Federation and Georgia during the August 2008 conflict., d: 90mm , wght: 2.5kg

fourth column from left, from the top

AP-21, Antipersonnel Directional , Fragmentation Mine, M-18/A1, Iran It is not known if Iran is still manufacturing copies of the US “Claymore” directional fragmentation mine. It is known, however, that many have already been produced and exported: in 2007, Bangladesh declared that it had 2,499 Iranian Claymores. , w: 210mm, wght: 1.58kg

AP-16, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, P-5, Spain, The P-5 scatterable blast mine is a licensed copy of the Italian SB-33 (neither of them is in production any longer). Its minimal metal construction of polycarbonate and neoprene, makes it extremely difficult to detect. The mine was also available in an anti-handling version., w: 90mm , wght: 140g

AP-24, Antipersonnel Blast Mine, B-40, USA/Vietnam The B-40 antipersonnel mine is a Vietnamese adaptation of the BLU-24/B US-made cluster bomb. When activated, the homemade mine contains enough explosive and fragmenting pieces to blow off a leg. Despite the destruction of 4 million mines and 8 million items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) since 1975, it is estimated that 16.478 million square meters of land in Vietnam is still contaminated by mines and UXO., d: 60mm , wght: 700g

AP-34, Submunition, BLU-3/B , USA On release from a CBU-2C/A bomb this 785g submunition—known as the “Pineapple”—is stabilized and slowed in its descent by six fins. Each CBU-2C/A contains 409 BLU-3/Bs, of which nearly 25 percent do not explode on impact. , d: 73mm, wght: 785g

110 | Rupture

Mandy Barker

SOUP: Nurdles Ingredients; nurdles – the industrial raw material of plastic collected from six different beaches.


from series SOUP

Courtesy the artist

Soup is the description given to plastic debris suspended in the sea, with particular reference to the mass accumulation of rubbish that exists in an area of the North Pacific Ocean evocatively known as the Garbage Patch. Barker’s work aims to stimulate an emotional response in the viewer, combining an initial aesthetic attraction (a stellar constellation, perhaps?) with a dawning awareness of the reality facing the world today – a veritable tsunami of pollution. The plastics photographed have been salvaged by Barker from beaches around the world and represent a global collection that has existed for varying amounts of time in the earth’s oceans. As she says, ‘My aim is to raise awareness through visual engagement about the issue of plastic pollution in world oceans, while highlighting the harmful effect on marine life and ultimately ourselves’.

111 | Rupture

David Moore



Courtesy the artist

Monitor explores the modern enslavement to the machine.

Our subjects’ attention is drawn to a hypnotic and uncertain presence that we cannot see, within ‘an air-conditioned environment with recycled oxygen, deadened by electronic emissions, the characters in Monitor are rendered corpse-like and inert against a cold dark slab of office infinity’ [Chandler; David, 2003] Monitor develops a conceptual idea found by David Moore whilst making his series of Work portraits. One which expressed the isolation and the invisibility of changes within the modern workplace, instant communication and information overload, changes which are internalized and according to Paul Virilio refer back to the body as “the last urban frontier”. Monitor becomes a lament for the certainties of a more permanent work culture, one that has all but disappeared into the dots that make up our computer screens. Directed by David Moore Assisted and produced by Paul Burch Edited by Scott Cato at The Quarry Composition and sound design by Graeme Miller, with words from William Blake’s ‘A Divine Image’ 1789 Thanks to: Rachel Evans, Dan Vegad, Anna Fiertago, Catherine McCargo, Lee Moone, Kevin Brock, Suzanna Rickman Simon Lloyd, Daniel Akoto, Sam Chapman Based on a series of David Moore’s photographs first exhibited in “Office” at The Photographers’ Gallery, London 2004

112 | Rupture

Sergey Ponomarev

Migrants walk past the temple as they are escorted by Slovenian riot police to the registration camp outside Dobova, Slovenia, Thursday October, 22, 2015.


from series Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Courtesy New York Times

Sergey Ponomarev has tackled the painful subject of mass migration poignantly. A well-ordered line of refugees clutching babies and children – we are not told who they are or from where they came – files by silently, directed to a place we cannot see. This is most likely far from being the new world they had dreamt of when they first set out on their perilous journeys. Ponomarev shows an ordered, modern Europe but it is hardly welcoming: a lone church from another era, and pylons marching across the landscape at the

113 | Rupture

Damon Winter

US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Kremer is shielded from the wash of a medevac helicopter by US Army soldiers from the First Battalion, 87th Infantry after sustaining severe injuries to both legs when he stepped on a mine on Qurghan Tepa Hill in Kunduz, Afghanistan Thursday September 17, 2010.


Courtesy New York Times

The swirling dust and debris of Winter’s dramatic image result from the proximity of the evacuation helicopter, but the picture might stand equally, without its caption, for the tumult and violence of modern warfare. The image borders on the abstract but pulls back to offer precise and telling detail: while bodies in the background seem to dissolve formlessly, in the foreground heads are bowed for protection, veiling faces, and all but two hands are visible.

114 | Rupture

Mauricio Lima

Refugees watch a huge plume of smoke as dozens of fires burn huts and makeshift shops at the camp called the “Jungle”, in Calais, northern France. October 26, 2016.


Courtesy New York Times

The events at the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais remain a long-term festering wound in European life. The camp was started in 2015 during the climax of the recent European migrant crisis; it was eventually shut down by the French government in October 2016, after several unsuccessful attempts earlier that year. Seen here by photojournalist Lima in a nightmarish, Goya-esque light – if light is the right word – young men with backpacks containing all their worldly goods watch helplessly as the camp they had helped build goes up in flames.

115 | Rupture

Gjorgji Lichovski

Macedonian police clash with refugees at blocked border

I bambini piangono mentre i migranti in attesa sul lato greco del confine sfondano un cordone di forze speciali di polizia macedoni, cercando di crearsi un varco verso la Macedonia, vicino alla città meridionale di Gevgelija, 21 agosto 2015.


Courtesy EPA European Pressphoto Agency

Mass migration is all too often a question of soulless statistics, but a single picture can pierce their armour. Here, Lichovski captures the agony of migrant children on one particular summer day in 2015, as desperate people waiting on the Greek side of the border break through a cordon of Macedonian special police forces, trying to cross into Macedonia near the southern city of Gevgelija. Photographs such as this present hard truths and ask people outside of the situation represented to both see and reflect on the realities depicted.

116 | Rupture

Sean Hemmerle

Brooks Brothers, WTC, New York, 12 Sep 2001


Courtesy the artist

Of the taking of this picture, photojournalist Hemmerle notes, ‘To be powerless in the face of adversity is an unsettling and humbling experience’. The photographer’s framing of the image underlines the strangeness of his experience: he finds himself alone in the still confines of a clothing shop, most of the shirts still neatly stacked on their shelves, a chair and table in perfect condition. Outside, framed by the blown-out window, we encounter a scene of unimaginable chaos and ruin. The ironic phrase of a passing vehicle, BASIC LIFE SUPPORT, completes the surreal picture.

117 | Rupture

Sergey Dolzhenko

Nationalist parties attend the March of National Pride in Kiev

Members of different nationalist parties burn flares and wave flags during the so- called ‘March of National Pride’ in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, 22 February 2017. Ukrainian right-wing political parties, including ‘Svoboda’, the ‘Right Sector’ and members of the volunteer Corps ‘Azov’, announced joined efforts to put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities for the implementation of reforms. They also demanded to stop the trade of Ukrainian business with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Ukraine.


Courtesy EPA European Pressphoto Agency

Dolzhenko is a photojournalist who never ceases to question his role as a photographer in complex situations: ‘I’m a normal guy and have my own views concerning political developments in my country, but as a journalist I don’t think it’s up to me to influence events. Yes, maybe I can foist my opinion onto others through my pictures but that will not be news journalism, it will be my view of a situation. I don’t like that kind of propaganda because it provoked too much chaos, violence and death, in the past. I prefer to give people a chance to draw their conclusions.’

118 | Rupture

Daniel BereHulak

Inmates sleep on a basketball court in an overcrowded prison, taking turns on any available space at Quezon City Jail, one of the country’s most congested in Quezon City, Philippines. There are over 3,500 inmates at the jail, which was built six decades ago to house 800. October 19, 2016

Courtesy New York Times

Berehulak is a globe-spanning photojournalist who a few years ago made an extensive study of the drug wars in the Philippines for the New York Times. Here he shows the horror of overcrowding in a Quezon City jail, one of the most congested, the inmates having to make do with bedding covering their basketball court. The jail had been made for 800, but 3000 were actually incarcerated there. Berehulak’s work eventually made the authorities uncomfortable, as photojournalists often do, and the newspaper brought him home once the threats to his have become acute.

119 | Rupture / Ora

Nicola Bertasi

Pandemic Postcards


dalla serie Pandemic Papers

Courtesy L’artista

Images, collages and digital reprocessing © Nicola Bertasi edited by Valeria Ribaldi

Mysterious postcards have arrived addressed to citizens of these virulent times.
Snapshots of a pandemic quid infecting the present moment and the recent past of this planet.
A message? A warning?
Or a joke of the space-time dimension?
Who cares. Here they are.

Nicola Bertasi

Pandemic Papers is a journey into an indefinite time in which a collective finds itself united in the face of an unusual and frightening event.

It is a message that comes from afar, reveals itself in the present and becomes a memorandum for the future.

Pandemic Papers is a collection of clues created through the discovery of a photographic archive relating to the 1918-19 Spanish Flu in the United States, the name of which intentionally re- traces that of the famous ‘Pentagon Papers’ of the New York Times. A reference to the historical investigative documents and, at the same time, the provocation of an artist who becomes a ‘detective’ by chance.

Nicola Bertasi, during the first lockdown is confronted with this series of fascinating images from the early 1900s that, as if in a foggy and confused dream, mingle with those conveyed by today’s media at such a complex time as the first months of the Covid19. Here were those romantic figures with masks, old banned signs and distant field hospitals, superimposed on the daily bombardment of information and claims of indispensable new products, to which the Covid emergency suddenly subjected us.

This visual blackout was transposed into digital collages and graphic and textural interventions, means through which the author imagines an unknown sender sending us an important message that spans time and space: what is happening today is but one of the- the thousands of challenges that humanity has already overcome and will continue to face, looking at the history is an opportunity to manage the everyday and face the future.

The centerpiece of the Pandemic Papers, is the Pandemic Postcards series, ten windows suspended in time that intercept common themes and reveal parallels between the two pandemics across a century of history, each updated with an update to 2020. The investigation of the archive continues with large-format images in which collages, along with elements of color, impact with messages and suggestions that bring us back to our present.

The beauty of our memory preserved in archives is a gift we cannot afford to ignore. Through it we have access to a collective experience, to the stories of all those who over the years have faced the same difficulties, the same wars, the same sorrows: an invaluable store of collective resilience.

Valeria Ribaldi

120 | Rupture / Now

Mikhail Palinchek

from left to right

Sandbags piled around the monument of the Princess Olga, Apostle Andrew, Cyril and Methodius to protect it in case of a possible Russian bombardment, Kyiv, Ukraine, April 1, 2022

Shopping center that was damaged by shelling on 21 March 2022 by a Russian rocket attack on Kyiv, Ukraine, March 29, 2022


Courtesy the artist

Mention of war photography instantly conjures up horrific images of death and destruction – as it should. Early in the 21st century, Europeans had thought they had put such barbarity behind them, yet they learned the hard way that this was not the case. But Mikhail Palinchak, a Ukrainian documentary photographer from Kyiv, while looking unflinchingly at the horrific side, also reminds us that people living through war do not lose their humanity, or a sense of their roots. While soldiers offer their lives to the homeland, citizens pull together to protect their patrimony.

121 | Rupture / Now

Alina Smutko

Said Ismahilov, ex mufti of Ukrainian Muslim and member of the territorial defense of Kyiv, at his home in an apartment in Bucha, near Kyiv 2022


Courtesy the artist

122A | Rupture / Now

Alex Majoli



Courtesy the artist

Suddenly, at the end of 2019, the world was faced with an unforeseen event; an event that seemed to belong to a past that, in turn, seemed to be definitively over: a pandemic capable of killing, to date, almost 6.5 million people. Italy was among the countries most affected by COVID, as the news reported. Alex Majoli’s images turn current events into a tragic vision, using the power of art – in this case photography – to reflect upon the dark areas of existence, of individuals and of society. These kinds of events affect coexistence, its rules, and the evolution of common living, as demonstrated by the borders that are being closed once again, which is a clear and not only metaphorical sign of the consequences of such a catastrophe.

122B | Rupture / Now

Alex Majoli



Courtesy the artist

Suddenly, at the end of 2019, the world was faced with an unforeseen event; an event that seemed to belong to a past that, in turn, seemed to be definitively over: a pandemic capable of killing, to date, almost 6.5 million people. Italy was among the countries most affected by COVID, as the news reported. Alex Majoli’s images turn current events into a tragic vision, using the power of art – in this case photography – to reflect upon the dark areas of existence, of individuals and of society. These kinds of events affect coexistence, its rules, and the evolution of common living, as demonstrated by the borders that are being closed once again, which is a clear and not only metaphorical sign of the consequences of such a catastrophe.

123 | Rupture / Now

Ludovica Bastianini



Courtesy the artist

As the Italian national quarantine begins in March 2020, Bastianini starts keeping a diary. This unprecedented situation immediately provokes in the artist a need to document the unexpected experience that the world is facing. Different media interact on the same support, her photographs rubbing shoulders with images she receives daily on her cell phone: photos taken by others, screenshots of videos, images from the internet, among others. Forced to confinement, she develops – like many artists at the same time – a new way of practicing photography. From the impressive amount of visual data to be processed, society issues emerge spontaneously: failing health care systems, illegal work, fake news, violence against women and femicides, political manipulation and mental health issues. Bastianini hence concludes: “Epidemics are epiphanies that detects society’s weaknesses” (day 19).

124 | Rupture

Paolo Pellegrin

UKRAINE. Babyn Village. 2022. The funeral of Anton Rodovenchyk, an 18 year old Ukranian soldier killed near Zhytomiryr.


Courtesy Yhe artist / Magnum Photos

Paolo Pellegrin has been reporting on conflicts in all parts of the world for decades, in accordance with the purest tradition of photojournalism. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is, unfortunately, only the latest – and with more direct consequences for Europe – of the many open crises in the world, and the images of death and destruction of every war characterize this conflict, too. Here Pellegrin prefers a close-up look at the civilian population that has been affected by this tragedy without any responsibility: an image in which women are involuntary protagonists, forced to accompany a victim on their last journey. This is the real, great tear in the path of ‘civilization’, the moment when all human achievements seem to be literally erased by the blind violence of war.

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Lois Conner

Hines, Puxi Construction


Courtesy M97 Shanghai

Lois Conner has been photographing Shanghai since 1984, when Pudong was a shipyard and the tallest building was two stories. Today, that past seems like a dream, and in 2016 the photographer found herself on the 60th floor of One Museum Place, as the last windows were being installed. Suddenly, the workers took a break, standing on the window ledge, and she stood as far back as she could and made one exposure, then moved in to add another layer, on the same piece of film. The kaleidoscopic result is a richly detailed portrait of not just a key building, but a city in motion in every sense.

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Will Steacy

from the top

Don Sapatkin, Deputy Science & Medicine Editor, 6:44 pm

Don Sapatkin, Three Weeks Before the Move, 7:42 pm Don Sapatkin’s Desk, A Week Before The Move, 4:43 pm View From Don Sapatkin’s Desk, Day After The Move, 3:17 pm


from series Deadline

Courtesy the artist

The number of newspapers had grown consistently since the American Revolution to more than 1200 in the 1990s, the peak of the industry. Despite the inroads being made by television from the mid-20th century, newspapers had managed to hold their own. But since the coming of the internet the decimation has been precipitous, with falling advertising revenues and deep drops in subscribers. Steacy vividly depicts the decline of one American newspaper, (in this case, a move to a smaller site) though the phenomenon itself is being experienced universally. Ironically, it has been estimated that on-line sources take 80% of their content from what they have read in newspapers.