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Blazing Shield (2005), 2014


Ways of seeing being definitely a subjective matter, pictures usually represent a more or less ‘concealed’ reality. Sometime reality isn’t what we actually see, as it depends on what one wants to see, on what one is conditioned to see or on what one is allowed to see.

Yet over the years, I came to believe that there is an ‘essence,’ a truth beyond the surface of the visible, that will eventually come to light and which belongs to a different dimension, although I might ignore it at the time of the shooting.

The series Blazing Shield is one such an example.

In this series of 5 pictures, one sees a welder whose simple actions are concealed by a ball of fire slowly overtaking and destabilizing the whole setting. The blazing lights of the forge and the faceless man brings about a dimension which best expressed the uncanny feeling of the place.

This series was photographed in November 2005 in a factory in the North of the country. The factory produced special armoring shield that was sent for American army vehicles stationed in Iraq.

The man I photographed, covered with protective clothing and wearing a welding helmet, was busy welding an iron segment I could barely see among the dazzling sparks of ultraviolet and infrared lights. At some point, he lifted his helmet and turned towards me. He reminded  me of a character from a  baroque painting.

More recently I learned that the security measures around the factory has been increased some years ago and that photographing today would be much more difficult…


March 2014

Ariane Littman