A journey through the darker reaches of humankind, Apocalypsis is a record of loss, grief, injustice, violence and death through war in Iraq, the Congo, Darfur, Colombia, Afghanistan and Burma. Photographer Alvaro Ybarra Zavala aims to bring the realities of these regions into our daily lives, and to confront us with what he describes as "the orgy of desperation, blood and despair which human beings are capable of inflicting upon their fellows"; he undertakes to record these darker episodes in our recent history to show that they are omnipresent realities. "People are moved by what they see," writes Zavala. "They respond emotionally, intellectually and morally. All we have is each other. We create our own problems, and it is up to us to solve them. I want this project to become a part of our visual history, to enter our collective memory and our collective conscience. I hope it will serve to remind us that history's deepest tragedies concern not the great leaders who set events in motion but the countless ordinary people who are caught up in those events and torn apart by their remorseless fury."
Author: Liu Zheng, Christopher Phillips and Gu Zheng
Year: 2008 - Pages: 176
In 1994, Chinese artist Liu Zheng conceived of an ambitious photographic project called The Chinese, which occupied him for seven years and carried him throughout China. Inspired by the examples of August Sander and Diane Arbus, he has captured a people and country in a unique time of great flux, providing a startling vision of the deep-rooted historical forces and cultural attitudes that continue to shape China and its people. Liu seeks out moments in which archetypal Chinese characters are encountered in extreme and unexpected situations. His photographs are divided among a number of topics which betray a dark vision, albeit one that is laced with mordant humor. His main subjects to date have included street eccentrics, homeless children, transvestite performers, provincial drug traffickers, coal miners, Buddhist monks, prison inmates, Taoist priests, waxwork figures in historical museums, and the dead and dying. This is the first monograph of his work to appear outside of China and accompanies Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, a major exhibition at the International Center of Photography, New York.