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Photo books

Thomas Galler

Palm Trees, Sunsets, Turmoil

Thomas Galler, Palm Trees, Sunsets, Turmoil
Afghanistan and Iraq 2001–2016
edition fink, Zurich 2017

ISBN 978-3-03746-208-9

What pictures of war zones are there outside the realm of media reports and what do they reveal? The book is based on a collection of almost 1,000 photographs compiled from freely accessible archives in the internet, showing images from the military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2016. The repertoire, filtered from the artist’s perspective, shows similar, rhythmically repeated motives: soldiers in camps and in action, local civilians, streetscapes, desert landscapes –at the center of which still and always thepictures of palm trees and sunsets. This catalogue of amateur snaps can be leafed through in two directions like a calendar, the repetitive sequences of day and night, town and country dulling the viewer’s sense of time. With its scope the book highlights the drab ordinariness of war and at the same time gives a harrowing sense of human tragedy beyond the sensational that is craved for by the media. It is also a repository of collective memories. Alice Wilke