Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Randa Mirza: Parallel Universes

Randa Mirza. Untitled #2 from the series Parallel Universes, 90cm x 58cm, 2008

Look through old family photographs and there is Grandma on her honeymoon in Paris, pictures from a camping trip in Vermont, or a snapshot of kids posing with Mickey Mouse. These are standard photographs taken during countless vacations that serve as tangible reminders of the intimate past.

On any given day peruse the newspaper and there are much different images. Bombed out buildings, men with guns, mothers crying while holding their injured loved ones. These images remind us that there is suffering, violence and pain on a daily basis. The individuals who capture these moments are bearing witness to what is taking place around them.

what happens when snap shots and photojournalism photography collide?

Randa Mirza takes the term war tourism and presents it in its most literal form. The series "Parallel Universes" addresses the passive spectator and the global media’s macabre fascination with violence by playing with this collision. A beautiful blond poses with a V for victory in front of a checkpoint, two men contemplate a body at the scene of a car crash or Japanese tourists take pictures of a burning car. In each of the images in this series there is an unsettling juxtaposition between the tourist’s calm and the chaotic environment that surrounds each of them. By doing so Ms. Mirza encourages us to question the facility with which human suffering is depicted around the globe to an audience that is more often than not indifferent to its emotional significance.


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