After decades of viewing the “Palestinian question” through foreign media, Marco Pinarelli traveled to Lebanon to try to bridge the distance he still felt from the people whose fate was, as he writes, “a bestseller” on the media market. There, he realized that distance was largely illusory, and so made these portraits of Palestinians working in Lebanon, first published in Le Monde, “to add some weight to the other side of the story.”
Your portraits center each subject in the middle of a particular workspace. Why did you choose this composition style?
I am working on investigating how visuals available on the media, both stills and films, are leading and misleading, both to the audience viewing them and the subjects they portray. The classic use of a wide angle lens and dramatic black and white are often used to portray Palestinians. I wanted to do the same thing but turn it around completely, using an advertising aesthetic, which is is a provocation for both audiences and Palestinians. These people are posing for me, but to me they’re still more real than much of the reportage I’m used to seeing in the media marketplace.
How was this work received?
Showing this work in the camps led me to the sad conclusion that we become the way people portray us. For many, victimism is like a disease and the virus comes from the media. If they keep telling you that your life is miserable and violent, you’ll end up behaving that way.
Where will your investigations take you next?
I’ll keep working on this line, because reality is a lot more complex and diverse than how it’s shown in the media; the Middle East is much richer than what emerges from its channels.
For more info – Palestinian Works