Marc Wilson documents the physical traces of the Holocaust

So what does he hope to achieve from A Wounded Landscape? The single response I want is a response: not to walk past, not to look away, not to turn a blind eye but to look, to think, to talk, to share. I see each viewer of the work and each reader of the book as having this important part to play by talking about it to others.”
A Wounded Landscape is a fine example of photography’s dual role, both documenting particular people, places and events, and offering deeper messages. While as a viewer there is plenty to learn from the project, Marc himself has had an eye-opening experience in the process. Looking back, he remembers an hour spent walking around human bone fragments at a former camp at Chelmno and the Rzuchowski forest in Poland. “After trying so hard to make work here, which I did, handheld, (shaking) crying onto the ground glass screen viewfinder of my camera, I did not know if I could continue. But of course I had no choice.” Marc addressed his position as a documenter, and simply couldn’t walk away from these experiences; he needed to share the stories he was told and to help the viewer understand their impact. “We could so easily have been, or could become, these stories,” he says.
It’s a sensitive subject matter to say the least, and the photographer wanted to avoid producing imagery that was objective, cold or voyeuristic. The solution was to tell the stories of his subjects and pair them with intimate portraiture, alongside shots of the local vicinity. He spoke with survivors and families including Rita, Harry and Lilian, plus many parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. “Each story was imprinted on my memory and I took these to each location I visited,” he says. “It pushed me with great urgency to make the work, and it also made it harder to do, to ‘fight’ with my camera through the emotions I had and experienced on site.”

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