Ariella Azoulay


On her book The Civil Contract of Photography

Cover Interview of January 22, 2009

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“The photograph as an unintentional effect of an encounter between photographer, photographed subject, camera, and spectator.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“The assumption is that the photographs show or perform something that is already over and done, foreclosing the option of seeing photography as a space of political relations.  In the political space that is reconstructed through the civil contract, photographed persons are participant citizens.”

On the second:

“In a random list of disasters that take place every day around the world, tanks roll into city streets and trample everything they encounter, a pregnant woman’s detainment for hours at a checkpoint results in the birth of a stillborn baby, vacationers die beneath the wreckage of a hotel whose facade has been torn apart by a car bomb, a woman is raped in the stairwell of her home.  Although in many respects these disasters differ from one another, the ways in which individuals belong to the injured population and their civil status are significant for determining how vulnerable they are to the experience of disasters.”