Apartheid is a Crime: Portraits of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine by Mats Svensson
Mats Svensson is a photographer who took 60,000 photos in the occupied Palestinian territories over several years and winnowed them down to the 92 perceptive, nuanced, and ultimately heart-rending images in this volume.
Svensson’s photos are accompanied by pithy and surprising commentary from a wide variety of Palestinian and Israeli figures as well as international voices from Barack Obama and George W Bush to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Svensson documents Palestinian street scenes, conveying the mannerisms and customs of daily life, as did the humanist photographer Cartier Bresson. Svensson does not display the blood and gore of conflict, yet he shows its precursors and its aftermath in photos that, taken together, are as charged as the war photos of Robert Capa and David Douglas Duncan.
Svensson shows us occupation, expropriation, arrest, and immense concrete barriers encroaching on daily life and asks us to come to our own conclusions. Americans will recognize this use of photos and words in the long tradition of politically committed photojournalists such as Walker Evans and James Agee who depicted the “dispossessed of the earth” in the American south at the depths of the Great Depression in their classic, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.