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Steve Harp | Poland

Train to Oswiecim (between Krakow and Oswiecim)

The absence of representable content does not mean the absence of an event . . . the work of figurability is to make contact in this void with that which is not representable.

– Michael Parsons

The work I am submitting is from an ongoing project,Residua,and was photographed in 2015 on the sites of the Auschwitz, Birkenau and Plasczow concentration camps.The work is an investigation into what remains of certain sites of the Holocaust how geographical factors influenced the events that occured.As such, photography is being used not simply to visually illustrate the sites where the events took place, but also to draw attention to the effects and passage of time and how these sites are being seen and utilized now.

I consider photography not simply as a functional means of recording and documentation, but also inherently as a process of inquiry, of questioning – always provisionally - links and connections between present and past, seen and unseen, present and absent which cannot help but suggest further questions, perhaps unanswerable but necessary nonetheless. It is in this process of thinking “obliquely and tangentially” (in the words of the late German writer W.G. Sebald) that photography is manifested as a way of learning to think associatively and metaphorically, a process that allows us to start to see possibilities for new ways of understanding.Photography is a matter of looking but also of looking away.

Geographies of the Holocaust, Anne Knowles, Tim Cole, Alberto Giordano, eds. (2014)


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