Sunday, October 9, 2011
PIETER HUGO: PERMANENT ERROR
Permanent Error, an exhibition of photographs by the South African born Pieter Hugo, is currently on display at Yossi Milo Gallery. In this series Hugo photographed a technology hardware dumpsite, Agbogbloshie Market, in Ghana along with the locals that work there who burn the waste and extract the metals for profit.
Each of the digital c-prints, which vary in size from 68”x68” to 47”x87,” hang in perfect arrangement on the walls of Yossi Milo. The colors in the photographs are muted with disrupting pops of color from the burning fires and the clothes worn by the workers. This bleak landscape is a reminder of the waste Western culture generates and the impact it has on a less fortunate environment. What was most captivating about the work was the confronting gaze of each subject that pierces through the smoke.
The most striking image is of a young boy named Abdulai Yahaya, a worker at the market. His hands show signs of wear from working under harsh conditions. His clothes are soiled and worn from the ash and dirt he comes into contact with while sifting through debris. His sweat gleams from the sun that is diffused through the clouds of smoke he breathes in. The cautious look in his eyes reveals the unease he felt around Hugo and his camera.
These immaculate photographs blur the line between documentary, journalism and “art” photography due to the posed nature of these portraits taken of a harsh reality.