"Moises Saman's most recent body of work, a book project titled 'Discordia', is a visual account of the Arab Spring, made up of work compiled over four years spent living in the Middle East. The work featured in 'Discordia' has received numerous awards, including the 2015 Guggenheim Grant for Photography, the Eugene Smith Memorial Fund (2014), the Henri Nannen Preis (2014),the World Press Photo (2014), and Pictures of the Year International (2012, 2014, 2015).
“These photographs were taken while I was working as a photojournalist in multiple countries in the region for publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and TIME magazine. Over these years, the many revolutions overlapped and in my mind became one blur, one story in itself. In order to tell this story the way I experienced it, I felt the need to transcend a linear journalistic language, and instead create a new narrative that combined the multitude of voices, emotions, and the lasting uncertainty I felt.” (M.S.)
The book "represents a personal memory of the nearly four years Moises Saman spent living and working as a photojournalist in the Middle East during the Arab Spring from 2011 to 2014.
In 'Discordia', Saman presents the unfolding of long and complex photographic sequences, absent of captions, an unexpected and less straightforward journalistic representation of the Arab Spring. The book includes a series of photo collages, created by the Dutch-Iranian artist Daria Birang from Saman’s photographs, grainy cut-outs exploring the repetition of human gestures and theatrics that Saman saw time after time during the events.
‘The editing process for an assignment is very different than that when I’m editing a longer narrative. A book in particular needs rhythm, and, as such, I felt that 'Discordia' had to incorporate the quieter pictures that offer more context, the photographs that sometimes are overlooked in the editorial process because they capture moments just before or after the main event.
With the collages, the aim was to literally cut out the subject from the context of the photograph and focus on the theatrical body language and expression of the protesters during clashes, rather than opt for the best single image that captured the action.’
'Discordia' utilises various artistic approaches to photographic material; double-page spreads, isolated images, provocative two-image comparisons, juxta-positions and the collages. Presented as such, the book builds a visual representation of Saman’s up-close experience with the events taking place around him. The photographs are often ambiguous, depicting fleeting moments on the periphery of the more dramatic events that Saman photographed for editorial publications. Discordia instead presents people gathered in conference, protests on the street, objects, and the continuation of day-to-day life amidst violence and uncertainty. The result is a personal comment on the complex nature of this period, and the ever-blurring line between victim and perpetrator.
The book closes with a series of short essays written by the photographer, vignette-like descriptions of transient characters, encounters, and situations he experienced during the years he spent living and working in the Middle East."
"Discordia shows the hopes, idealism and strength of rebellion against long-established dictatorial regimes, and also—with great clarity—the price paid for it." (Julian Stallabras)
Please have also a look upon Olivier Laurent's 'Anatomy of a photobook': http://time.com/4277248/anatomy-of-a-photobook-moises-samans-discordia/
About the photographer (*1974):
Moises Saman is documentary photographer and a member of Magnum Photos. Moises is currently a regular contributor to The New Yorker Magazine, TIME Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, among other international magazines.
His interest in photography emerged from his university studies in sociology, and was influenced by the work of photojournalists that were covering the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
From 2007-2012 he was a regular contributor to The New York Times, and from 2000-2007 was a staff press photographer at Newsday newspaper, NY.
His work from Iraq and Afghanistan has received numerous international awards, including from the Overseas Press Club (2008), Pictures of the Year International (2008), the New York Press Photographers Association (2007), and the World Press Photo (2004, 2007).
'Discordia' ist die persönliche Auseinandersetzung des des 1974 geborenen MAGNUM-Fotografen Moises SAMAN mit dem Arabischen Frühling.
SAMAN hielt sich zu dieser Zeit u.a. in Syrien, Libyen sowie in Ägypten auf. Die ohnehin schon großartigen Aufnahmen des großformatigen Buchs gewinnen durch die Collagen der Niederländisch-Iranischen Künstlerin Daria BIRANG, zusätzlich an Dynamik.
Klapp-Seiten schaffen weitere Querbezüge. Dadurch wird die an sich fotojournalistische Arbeit auch gestalterisch zu einem interessanten Fotobuch-Projekt.
"Fast 10 Jahre ist es her, dass SAMAN sein letztes Buch veröffentlichte. Wie schon der Vorgänger 'Afghanistan' versammelt auch seine neue, diesmal im Eigenverlag erschienene Publikation 'Discordia' Fotografien, die über einen längeren Zeitraum hinweg in einer weltpolitisch markanten Region entstanden sind.
Zwischen 2011 und 2014 war der Magnum Fotograf für internationale Zeitungen und Magazine im Nahen Osten und in Nordafrika unterwegs, um über den arabischen Frühling zu berichten.
'Discordia' zeigt nun SAMANs fotografisches Resümee aus diesen Jahren der Hoffnungen, Umwälzungen und Konflikte.
Der sorgfältig produzierte und gestaltete Band versammelt die sehr persönliche fotografische Essenz aus diesen Jahren. Mit Bildern abseits gängiger Perspektiven und seiner emphatischen Sicht auf den tragischen Alltag der Menschen in dieser Region ist SAMAN ein differenzierter Beitrag zu einem Medien beherrschenden Themenkomplex gelungen." (Michael KLEIN, ehem. Buchhandlung Deichtorhallen)