Joakim Eskildsen – A world I can believe in
The National Museum of Photography, 22 May 2015 – 30 January 2016

To my mind, when looking at the title that Mr. Eskildsen has chosen for his exhibition, it became rather obvious that I was about to see “yet another” series of photographs of social matters. It wasn’t a problem at all, since I usually enjoy this type of photography, but at the same time, this didn’t stop me to involuntarily have certain expectations about the exhibition.

I was lucky enough to be overly surprised, in the most positive manner. When entering the gallery, just a few glimpses made it incredibly difficult for me to decide where exactly I would like to start; there were too many amazing photographs that immediately caught my eyes. The  exhibition  is divided into several  sections,  each of them  displaying  projects the artist has worked or is still working on. By this I mean that you are introduced to everything from contact sheets, work copies, prints and even sketch books. Moreover, you can listen to interviews with the photographer. This rare encounter guides the viewer through the whole process of creating a photographic book (which is considered by Eskildsen the “perfect form of presentation”), offering impressive insights and at the same time an intimacy that allows for a better grasp of the narrative behind the still frames.

The artist takes viewers in a fascinating journey. By revealing places such as Northern Europe,  a  fishing  community  in  Portugal,  a  South  Africa  that  had  just  elected  Mandela, another Europe, but that of the Roma community, an unseen side of America, Cuba and even his  own  home,  Eskildsen  invites  us  to  acknowledge  that  the  world  surrounding  us  is incredibly  complex.  People  in  different  parts  of  the  world  live  such  different  lives  that sometimes  even  if  we  are  consciously  aware  of  this fact,  when  entering  “A world I can believe in” it may come as a shock. The images are powerful, clever and I like to think that they also underline a very subtle and intelligent sense of humour. Even though most images touch  on  problematic  aspects  of  the  world  such  as  poverty  or  ecologically  disastrous conditions, it is impressive how the photographer managed to keep an optimistic perspective and outline the beauty of mankind.

Text and images by Silvia Ghimbas





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