At home with a suspected terrorist

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

Edmund Clark is the first photographer allowed into a UK house where a suspected terrorist is held. His new book Control Order House uses its empty spaces to map out a vision of Britain now

“In December 2011, I was the first artist allowed access to work and stay in a house in which a man suspected of involvement in terrorist-related activity had been placed under a control order.”

So begins the British photographer Edmund Clark‘s introduction to his new book, Control Order House. It is composed of photographs, additional thumbnails, diary entries and copies of Clark’s correspondence with the Home Office – as well as the complete document “of the case for imposing a control order on CE”, the anonymous yet abiding presence in the book.

A control order is a form of internment without trial. It is imposed on the basis of evidence that has not been heard in open court, and usually results in a suspect being removed from their family home and put under strict control in a house in a different town. It is another contested frontier in the current debate that pits our democratic freedoms against our security in a time when the threat from terrorism is constant and, as recent events in Woolwich show, utterly unpredictable.

Clark’s book is related to his previous project, the much-lauded Guantánamo: If the Light Goes Out (shortlisted for last year’s Prix Pictet prize), in which he was given access to Guantánamo Bay detention camp and to the homes of former detainees. “I wasn’t interested in what crime they committed,” Clark told one interviewer. “What was more interesting were the spaces around them and what that said about the nature of long-term incarceration and its relationship to time and space.”

This continues to be the case. Control Order House is a starkly atmospheric study of the functional rooms in a house where Clark was allowed to spend three days and two nights photographing everything apart from the person held there. “The majority of these photographs were taken quickly,” he writes, “uncomposed, with the flash on automatic and the lens on wide angle.”

His initial idea was to “stitch them together as panoramas” and the several pages of thumbnails he has included attest to the composite power of these often drably impersonal interiors. The substance is all in the detail: a TV on the floor, a cheap shelving unit bearing a few DVDs and books, a kitchen where a dishcloth, a bottle of Herbal Essences shampoo and the pack of cat food atop the fridge are the only signs of human presence. (The cat appears lounging imperiously on an untidy sofa.) Every object attests to the abiding sense of impermanence – a life interrupted – these photographs suggest.

Alongside the photographs, Clark, who was allowed to converse with but not interview the controlled person, has included hand-written diary entries that set out his subject’s mundane everyday existence. “8am: My curfew is over so I tend to go out and get some breakfast (a donut). Most of the time I buy my breakfast from Greggs … 9.30am: Start reading some Qur’an then maybe some other peoples (sic) not attached to religion.”

Contrasted with this is a long section of legalese devoted to the ruling against CE, which Clark admits is “long and in places hard to follow, but fascinating and revealing”. This is indeed the case, but it does offer some idea of the tortuous – and increasingly undemocratic – nature of our current constantly reviewed and contested anti-terrorism laws. “I am not writing to persuade you for or against these measures,” writes Clark. “It is for lawyers or campaigners to argue their cases. It would be facile to say that this is the territory of Kafka because this is not fiction. This is history.”

As his project progressed, Clark came to see the house as a metaphor for how we react to “the fear and chaos of terrorist attacks – and an often media engendered chaos of terrorist attacks, and the consequent continuing reality and representation of an undefined threat from within. This house,” he concludes, “is Britain”.

Now see this

This year’s PhotoEspana festival, which opens this week, gathers 328 artists from 42 countries with over 70 shows mainly in Madrid, but also across Spain. The ambitious theme is Body Eros and Politics, with the human body as the focus. Expect explorations of gender and form as well as portraiture. Artists include Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, Shirin Neshat, Laura Torrado and Mark Shaw. There will also be workshops based in Alcalá de Henares and hosted by by Guy Tillim and Isabel Muñoz. Until 20 July 2013. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | Sean O’Hagan Thanks for reading Jay


About jayclappphotography

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Posted on June 3, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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