Gilles Peress (French, born 1946)
Gelatin silver print; 15 1/4 x 23 5/8 in. (38.7 x 60 cm)
Gift of Henry Buhl, 1998 (1998.180.1)
© Gilles Peress/Magnum Photos
French photographer Gilles Peress' work in Bosnia stems from a lifelong interest in capturing the harshness and reality of life. This interest has taken him from a French coal-mining village to Northern Ireland, Iran, and Rwanda, among other troubled locations. He spent three months in Bosnia during 1993 and created several unflinching images of the death, destruction, and pain caused by the war there. This photograph starkly portrays a body in a morgue, its materiality likened to the tiles on the wall and the cement of the floor. Peress' intention is to cut through the indifference of viewers inundated by reportorial photographs: "My point is that we, in the comfort of our lives, must question our role in the history of Bosnia, which is also our history." This print was originally published in Peress' 1995 book Farewell to Bosnia, in which the photographs are accompanied by his commentary.