REVIEW: The Resolution of the Suspect by Miki Kratsman
By Elana Kates
Israeli-Argentinian photojournalist Miki Kratsman has worked for over three decades in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. In The Resolution of the Suspect, Kratsman re-contextualizes over three-hundred of his images, originally taken in a daily news context, to investigate the everyday realities of Palestinian life under Israeli Occupation. The Resolution of the Suspect attempts to contend with and make manifest the conditions of danger and suspicion which characterize life in the Palestinian territories, a dynamic that has persisted since the First Intifada began in 1987. And, although Kratsman’s book is an exploration of the visual climate in the Occupied Territories, it is equally an investigation into the nature of representation and photojournalism itself. An in-depth and multifaceted essay by Ariella Azoulay offers intimate analysis and commentary on Kratsman’s work.
The Resolution of the Suspect is divided into sections, each of which features the photographer experimenting with different methods of documentation. In these segments, Kratsman demonstrates the transformative nature of the photograph—its power to codify the innocent bystander as suspect, protagonist, antagonist. Its ability to frame reality and construct narratives. Palestinians are photographed from a distance, grainy and blurred—this aesthetic imparts an eerie sense of suspicion (regardless of actual context). Other images show groups of Palestinian men, wanted for crimes (and targeted for assassination by the Israeli State) that imply a sense of photographic temporality. The visages of men subsequently executed are circled in marker. The effect is unnerving.
The final section of The Resolution of the Suspect is the most impactful. “Out of Frame” consists of portraits of Palestinians who have typically remained “nameless in Israeli public space”. Kratsman posts these images on a Facebook page titled, “People I Met,” inviting viewers to identify the individuals portrayed and comment on their ultimate fate. These comments are included in the book. “Out of the Frame” signifies the complexity of Kratsman’s project, which is fully realized only with the “active participation” of viewers—viewers who are implicated by Suspect. Ariella Azoulay explains what this means: “I do not mean simply feeling solidarity with others who were born to be vulnerable and deprived, but understanding that the constitution of your own citizenship is what keeps them vulnerable and exposed to disaster.” Although Azoulay is addressing Israeli citizens, the significance is universal. And the effect is a potent reminder, that the power of photography raises consciousness.
Article © Elana Kates