"These images, snatched by Graffenried without having been aimed, for to raise a camera to one's eye is to put one's life in danger, testify to a truth that no one is showing, that of daily fear and furor that you won't see on the six o'clock news."--Robert Delpire, Director of the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, from his ForewordMichael von Graffenried, an award-winning Swiss photographer, covertly photographed civil strife in Algeria from the early 1990s through 1998. In a land where Islamic terrorists have executed over sixty journalists and photographers in the last seven years, Graffenried's very survival is remarkable. His extraordinary accomplishment, however, is these photographs, which form a composite of Algeria that is more whole than the nation itself, fractured by one segment of the population in favor of democracy and another in favor of an Islamic state.Graffenried makes his pictures secretly, using an antique Widelux panoramic camera with a hidden lens. He would risk his picture and his life were he to raise a camera to his eyes. Instead, he shoots from the hip, with his hands clasped over what looks like a pair of binoculars. In learning to frame his photographs without a viewfinder, he opens himself to a rich array of surprise and irony in his pictures, and reveals a society that has been concealed from the international community for nearly seven years.
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