Friday, 3 April 2009

Photography and Memory (2): Marcelo Brodsky

This is the second in what I hope to be a series of posts on photographers whose work is concerned with issues of memory in Latin America. One could argue all photography is 'about' remembering, in that photographs show us images from the past and are so often used as part of memory work. I'm interested principally in photographic images that are more explicitly concerned with political violence in twentieth-century Latin American and its aftermath. Some of the photographers featured will lean more to the 'arty' side, others to the field of 'photojournalism'. The first post in the series is here.


Marcelo Brodsky is an Argentine photographer whose work deals with the legacy of the dictatorship. Brodsky's brother Fernando numbers among the disappeared, and he often draws on this experience. His best known work is a large reproduction of his class photograph covered with inscriptions and comments on the classmates. Brodsky tracked down his fellow pupils and took a photograph of each of those that he could find holding a small version of the group image. Across his own photograph, he wrote "I'm a photographer and I miss Martín".

Martín's photo contains the message,"Martín was the first one to be taken away. He didn't get to know his son, Pablo who
is twenty years old now. He was my friend, the best". Martín was one of at least 98 students of the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires who were murdered by the state during the dictatorship (some of them for the crime of requesting subsidised bus fare).

Brodsky's images often take everyday objects and rework them to show their significance to memory. You can see more of them on his excellent website (Spanish and English) and on zonezero. You can also buy the books Nexo and Bueno Memoria (available in various languages).

2 comments:

tracksud said...

I attended a great lecture by Professor Elizabeth Jelin at New York University in March. The Porteña spoke about the memory of post-repression in the southern cone of South America and in regards to Argentina, the current debate over how to protect and preserve the memory of the dictatorship. I have more information about it in one of my posts:

http://tracksud.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/argentinians-continue-to-brew-over-the-coup/

Great posts!

Lillie Langtry said...

Elizabeth Jelin is SO important in memory studies in the region, and her work is also pretty accessible. 'State Repression and the Struggles for Memory' is a great place to start for any readers who might be wondering about finding out more about the politics of memory in Latin America.

Thanks for your comment tracksud.