Ad van Denderen USEFUL PHOTOGRAPHY #004
Useful Photography #004
Into Paradise

In 2005 an issue of the european journal Useful Photography #004 presented a disturbing series of photographs by Ad van Denderen, taken in the West Bank. Turning away from the usual newsworthy scenes, Van Denderen photographed posters made by Palestinian activists and stuck to walls and buildings. For the Palestinians such posters represent heroic memorial portraits of the martyred dead: suicide bombers, militants, intifada fighters and bystanders killed in the conflict with Israel. Cheaply produced and printed, they lasted for several weeks until covered with new posters or ripped down by young Palestinians with an Israeli gun in their backs. The iconography is intriguing: on the one hand offering us a glimpse into the mode of portraiture that is not intended for the West, and which very much contradicts media representations of the terrorist, but on the other hand showing us how the Arabic slogans and Islamic iconography are mixed with Western imagery. Some images remind us of Hollywood movie posters, as the sitters’ macho, gun-toting poses mimic the appearance of such stars as Stallone or Schwarzenegger.

Mark Durden in Photography Today, Phaidon

publication: Useful Photography #004