Broomberg & Chanarin traveled to Afghanistan to embed with the British Army in Helmand Province in 2008. They were banned from taking images showing evidence of conflict – no dead bodies, no wounded bodies, no evidence of enemy fire. So, instead of cameras, they brought a roll of photographic paper inside a lightproof box.
In response to violent events – at the moment when a traditional photojournalist would take a picture – Broomberg & Chanarin unrolled the light sensitive paper and exposed it for twenty seconds to the sun. Those pieces of paper were there in that place, the artists said. The images are real witnesses. They bear the effects of the light.
This is a detail from an image in their exhibition, The Day Nobody Died.
This post is part of an Instagram series celebrating the upcoming publication of DRAW YOUR WEAPONS (July 4!). I’m highlighting some of the artists whose work inspired my writing. Every Friday, I post about a different artist. You can follow me on Instagram to see more: @sarahsentilles