September 17, 2013

Sweet Damascus

Poor us. The media narrative is so blunt, so black and white, it’s like riding in a car stripped to two gears, forward and reverse.  So the photos from Syria the past year or so have been a little weighted toward Aleppo and, recently, the Damascus suburb of Gouta. On that diet, of course, one would only think that apocalypse reigns.

The day before publishing a shot of beheadings in the outskirts, however, Paris Match drops us like flies into the heart of Damascus — in the days before immediately after the Gouta chemical attack.  And it’s here we see photos of domestic life as we would recognize it anywhere, characterized by shopping, traffic, liberal cell phone use.  It’s not that Sergey Ponomarev’s images are purely domestic and normalized, however. (Look what starts to happen when you arrive at the 19th photo out of the 26 — with that stop at that Greek Orthodox Church at #11.)  Up to that point, however,  the most irony Ponomarev serve up is that tray in the shop window, like these days in this land are so sweet.

Entire photo gallery here. (The photos shown here were carried out between 12 and 24 August 2013. The chemical attack in neighborhoods Ghouta held on August 21.)

(photos: Sergey Ponomarev at Paris Match)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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