In 1972, at the age of 26, Gilles Peress (born 1946) photographed the British Army’s massacre of Irish civilians on Bloody Sunday. In the 1980s he returned to the North of Ireland, intent on testing the limits of visual language and perception to understand the intractable conflict.
Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, a work of “documentary fiction,” organizes a decade of photographs across 22 fictional “days” to articulate the helical structure of history during a conflict that seemed like it would never end – days of violence, of marching, of riots, of unemployment, of mourning.
It is a staggering tome with 1295 images spanning 1960 pages. It is also accompanied by Annals of the North, a text-and-image almanac.
Rarely does something seem like definitive in the world of photography but this surely is as close as it gets…