War in Europe
Book of the photographers Peter Maria Schäfer and Wolfgang Bellwinkel dealing with the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. expose-Verlag Berlin, 1994.
Wolfgang Bellwinkel is an artist/photographer who might, at face value, be described as a photo-journalist. His series of images titled ‘The Everyday Nature of War, Bosnia1993-1994’ chronicle aspects of that war but from the perspective of an empathetic eye.
Bellwinkel’s photographs are subtle and touching in their portrayal of daily, commonplace events. He does not exploit the subject or the audience by pandering to the ‘emotions’. That is, he does not photograph the dying child, the decimated face of a person after say, an explosion etc.
They are not explicit displays of carnage nor are they aestheticized, sensational, photographic trophies (barring one photo which actually is a bit sensationalist but it doesn’t dominate the series). The images therefore do not fit with the expectations of media agencies. In this sense, he is wholly outside a photo-journalistic remit and it is for this reason that I believe he is an interesting example of the scope of a citizen artist’s practice.
Azra Begic’, Art Gallery of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1994
Our friends, Wolfgang Bellwinkel and Peter Maria Schäfer, have no illusions. They know the world is not in order and that the wielders of power in this world have designed a terrible fate for us, in taking away our right to defend ourselves and condemning us to an unequal struggle.
These two photographers understand how to look and understand, and have the courage to offer the world a bloody reality. Thank you.