First Place, 2017 New England Book Show (General Trade, Illustrated)
First Place, 2017 NEMA Awards (Books)
Miki Kratsman has worked as a photojournalist in the Palestinian Occupied Territories for over three decades. Originally created in the context of daily news, his tens of thousands of photographs have, in retrospect, taken on fascinating new meanings, as bystanders become protagonists and peripheral details move to the center. Isolated from the original frame, cropped, enlarged, and redisplayed, the reimagined images ask us to explore the limits of the observer’s gaze under conditions of occupation.
Kratsman’s photographs look at both “wanted men”—individuals sought by the Israeli state—and the everyman and everywoman on the street who, by virtue of being Palestinian in a particular time and place, can be seen as a “suspect.” The work is both transgressive and banal, crossing boundaries between Israel and Palestine, “wanted” and “innocent,” street photography and surveillance imagery. Kratsman has also provoked vital, long-term interaction around the images on social media, creating a Facebook page on which viewers are invited to identify the individuals portrayed and comment on their “fate.” His complex project is chronicled in this book in more than 300 images that powerfully implicate the viewer as we follow the gaze of both occupier and occupied within a complex web of power relations around issues of life and death.
A thought-provoking text by Ariella Azoulay engages intimately with Kratsman’s images. Looking at various models of historical and civil construction of the gaze, Azoulay explores the ways in which the shadow of death is an actual threat that hovers over Kratsman’s photographed persons and frames both individuals and the borrowed time within which they exist.
A supplemental booklet contains hundreds of portraits and evocative messages from Kratsman’s Facebook proj