"Discordia" - Exhibition and Book Signing
February 18, 2016
by Moises Saman
Discordia, a new book by Magnum photographer Moises Saman, represents a personal memory of the nearly four years he spent living and working as a photojournalist in the Middle East during the Arab Spring from 2011 to 2015.
“These photographs were taken while I was working as a photojournalist in multiple countries in the region for publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and TIME magazine. Over these years, the many revolutions overlapped and in my mind became one blur, one story in itself. In order to tell this story the way I experienced it, I felt the need to transcend a linear journalistic language, and instead create a new narrative that combined the multitude of voices, emotions, and the lasting uncertainty I felt.”
In Discordia, Saman presents the unfolding of long and complex photographic sequences, absent of
captions, an unexpected and less straightforward journalistic representation of the Arab
Spring. The book includes a series of photo collages, created by the Dutch-Iranian artist Daria
Birang from Saman’s photographs, grainy cut-outs exploring the repetition of human gestures and
theatrics that Saman saw time after time during the events.
"The editing process for an assignment is very different than that when I’m editing a longer narrative.
A book in particular needs rhythm, and, as such, I felt that Discordia had to incorporate the quieter
pictures that offer more context, the photographs that sometimes are overlooked in the editorial
process because they capture moments just before or after the main event. With the collages, the
aim was to literally cut out the subject from the context of the photograph and focus on the theatrical
body language and expression of the protesters during clashes, rather than opt for the best single
image that captured the action."
Discordia utilizes various artistic approaches to photographic material; double-page spreads,
isolated images, provocative two-image comparisons, juxtapositions and the collages. Presented as
such, the book builds a visual representation of Saman’s up-close experience with the events taking
place around him. The photographs are often ambiguous, depicting fleeting moments on the
periphery of the more dramatic events that Saman photographed for editorial publications. Discordia
instead presents people gathered in conference, protests on the street, objects, and the continuation
of day-to-day life amidst violence and uncertainty. The result is a personal comment on the complex
nature of this period, and the ever-blurring line between victim and perpetrator.
The book closes with a series of short essays written by the photographer, vignette-like descriptions
of transient characters, encounters, and situations he experienced during the years he spent living
and working in the Middle East.
The work in Discordia was in part made possible with the generous support of The Incite Project (a
UK-based private collection of issue-driven photographic prints), the Guggenheim Foundation, the
W. Eugene Smith Foundation, and Magnum’s Collectors Circle.
A series of events in London and Paris will mark the official launch the book in early 2016.
23 - 27 February 2016. Agnes B. 15-17 rue Dieu, Paris
Work from Discordia, previously on display at the WARM festival in Sarajevo followed by the Bayeux
Festival, will be exhibited to coincide with the launch events for the book. The exhibition is organised
by the WARM Foundation in partnership with Magnum Photos, Agnes B, and Amnesty International.
Talk and book signing with Moises Saman:
25 February 2016, 19 - 21h. Magnum Paris, 19 Rue Hegesippe Moreau, Paris.
Moises Saman will present his work before engaging in discussion with a guest curator and the
audience. The talk will be followed by drinks and a book signing.
Discordia by Moises Saman
£49 / $55 / €60
Self-published. Available for pre-sale from 1 February from
Edited by Daria Birang
Collages by Daria Birang with photographs by Moises Saman
Design by Daria Birang and Moises Saman in collaboration with Syb
Hardback: 240x320mm (portrait)
127 photographs / 4 collages / 1 composite
Catalogue of images