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Algeria, scrapbooks
2009

Between 1993 and 2003, Bruno Boudjelal has kept travel diaries about his repeated journeys to Algeria. Between travel diary and personal diary, these booklets show at the same time a personal experience and Algerias present reality.


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"The aim is not to show, nor to demonstrate. Neither is it to describe, to prove anything, to simplify a complicated situation, or to pretend to understand everything and to bring back perfect images. The aim is, before all, to take photographs in one of the countries where this is most difficult, almost impossible.
More importantly, the aim is to say plainly, clearly and with modesty how the life of an individual can cross the path of History. How an ordinary life, an act of identification, thoughts on photography can create the need to take pictures in Algeria, beyond the factual anecdotes.
Algeria, a black hole and the symbol of the French guilty conscience ; Algeria, a country of massacres, of missing persons, of devious policies and victimized people ; Algeria, also the country of his origins for Bruno Boudjelal, which he visited rather late in his life when his father went back to his birth country.
For 5 years, the need to know who he is and the urge to testify, if necessary with stolen images, of a situation in which everyone is in danger have crossed each other regularly.
Testifying does not mean recording a series of misfortunes, but saying, sensitively, in black and white and more and more frequently in colour, how an individual can find his place in a turmoil which questions the identity he is trying to forge, on either side of the Mediterranean Sea.
His series of impressions, from deserted streets to clandestine pubs, from places where massacres took place to womens everyday life, intend before all to make us wonder about the reasons of a monstrosity so close, about the desire to live of a youth torn between despair and tricks.
Saying I , putting ones point of view into perspective and assuming ones uniqueness, affirming that one is facing a turmoil which, way beyond facts, questions everyones inner nature is probably the most exemplary dimension of the involved testimony . Showing no pathos, not appealing to moral sense, knowing how to say : I saw this, Im showing it to you , evoking rather than describing, admitting that we are, against our will, part of a story that is beyond us, is probably what gives its magnitude to a testimony that wants to question rather than give lessons. In that respect, Bruno Boudjelal is obviously exemplary."

Christian Caujolle

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