The Structure of Shame. Stephan Vanfleteren's Portrait of the Kosovo War
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The Structure of Shame. Stephan Vanfleteren's Portrait of the Kosovo War

(David Van Reybrouck) The Low Countries - 2005, № 13, pp. 130-137

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The photo was taken in the spring of 1999, close to the Albanian town of Kükes. It was published on 24 April 1999, exactly one month after the first NATO bombs on Serbian targets, as a special section to the Flemish newspaper De Morgen. The design was sober and serene, semi-matte paper, quarto format, black and white photos, framed only by the edges of the negative. The author of this essay knows the photo all too well. He doesn't need to look at the photo any more, but he does anyway and feels shame; shame for the limited depth-of-field with which he used to look at it; shame for the over-exposure of the foreground at the expense of the background, the clouds. He is not moved by the photo, but shaken. And it gets worse.

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