1 / 4       From the exhibition Despite Similarity to Reality - This is a Work of Fiction. © Ryan Spencer Reed.

2 / 4       From the exhibition Despite Similarity to Reality - This is a Work of Fiction. © Ryan Spencer Reed.

3 / 4       From the exhibition Despite Similarity to Reality - This is a Work of Fiction. © Ryan Spencer Reed.

4 / 4       Dalla mostra Despite Similarity to Reality - This is a Work of Fiction. © Ryan Spencer Reed.

Despite Similarity to Reality

Since the human being has thought it necessary to group together within social entities, war has existed. Born to solve issues of survival this imperishable institution of ... human genius has transformed with the evolution of social structures into a maintenance instrument and power control. However, given the high price that every conflict asks of the people who support it, governments have always made sure to get as much popular support as is possible. The strategy is part of the broader phenomenon of the involvement of the masses in power and has found in the second half of the nineteenth century in photography a powerful ally. Almost all historians date it back to the Crimean War, the beginning of a precise photographic genre: photojournalism. On that occasion, Roger Fenton was asked to show that the war waged by the subjects of Her British Majesty was not as terrible as the news of William Howard Russell in the Times led you to believe. Even today the image retains a vital role in creating a mass consensus against the event of war. And, it is right around this central nucleus that the work done by Ryan Spencer Reed rotates, an American photographer who grew up in a family of military tradition. Struck by the dissonance between the image of the heroic war offered to the population – where young people sent to fight are portrayed as heroes fighting for freedom in the world and the good of the nation, only to be ignored when, as veterans, they return to their homeland – the author has decided to investigate closely. Starting from the data of a heavy increase in the number of suicides among veterans, he took advantage of kinship with a cousin in the official 506th Parachutes Regiment, known as Band of Brothers, to find a contact and be admitted to the military training, until he got to follow the regiment as embedded in its assignment in Afghanistan.
A job that makes you think about the real manipulative capabilities that images can have, especially when used as a political tool. A scene in which the underlying powerful symbols of the myth of the corps, particularly famous in the United States, refer to in a decisive manner an imaginary military heroism spread by the Hollywood cinema. Indeed, perhaps in the images a major grandeur can be found here and there, which leaves you more perplexed on your way out of the exhibition. It makes you wonder if in fact what you have seen is real or if it is a successful simulation. And it is the question that we should probably ask ourselves more often, in a stricter and broader sense, in front of war photography. Among the shows at the OFF CIRCUIT exhibitions it is undoubtedly the most convincing. [ S. I. ]

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by Ryan Spencer Reed
Vecchio Ospedale | until September, 27th 2015
admission fee: 6,00 €

published on 2015-08-15 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS



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