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Burden of Proof
CAMERA, Turin

8 April 2016

CAMERA, the new Italian Center for Photography that opened in Turin last October, is hosting until May 1 Burden of Proof. The Construction of Visual Evidence from the Holy Shroud to Satellite Images, an exhibition conceived by Diane Dufour, director of Le Bal arts center in Paris, and coproduced with the Photographers’ Gallery in London and the Netherlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam. The exhibition investigates the role of the image in the search for truth through an analysis of the history of forensic photography over the course of more than a century: from the invention of “metric photography” by Alphonse Bertillon in the 19th century to the first aerial reconnaissance flights during the First World War, from the crimes against humanity of the Soviet regime to the films of the death camps show at the Nuremberg trials; and, more recently, the cataloguing of the destruction in Gaza after the Israeli attacks of 2008 and 2009, the controversial satellite images and video footage of drone strikes in Miranshah, Pakistan, and the land claims of the Bedouins of the Negev Desert. Also present are the first photographs of the Shroud of Turin, taken by the lawyer Secondo Pia during its public display in 1898, which sparked off the scientific debate over the authenticity of the relic. But these are just some of the eleven case studies presented in this fascinating show. The research on which the exhibition is based, carried out by Diane Dufour in collaboration with Luce Lebart, Christian Delage and Eyal Weizman, constitutes an important attempt to understand how, when, by whom and for what purpose these images were created, and what role they have played in the shaping of history. At the same time, the decontextualization of these materials is intended, as the curator explains, “to suggest a possible critique of their nature: are they symbolic, or are they themselves evidence?” The aim is to provide viewers with the tools needed to decode their complexity. The design of the exhibition in the spaces on Via delle Rosine is by Marco Palmieri. It is accompanied by a catalogue entitled Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence published by Éditions Xavier Barral that won the Photography Catalogue of the Year category at the PhotoBook Awards 2015, presented by Aperture Foundation in collaboration with Paris Photo.

Burden of Proof. The Construction of Visual Evidence from the Holy Shroud to Satellite Images
Curated by Diane Dufour, with Luce Lebart, Christian Delage and Eyal Weizman
CAMERA—Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, Turin
January 27-May 1

Fort de Douaumont, nei pressi di Verdun, 4 novembre 1916, 12h, altitude 900 m. Sezione di Fotografia Aerea © Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais, photo Marie Bour

Fort Douaumont, near Verdun, 4 November 1916, noon, altitude 900 metres. Aerial Photography Section. © Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais. Photo: Marie Bour.

Fort de Douaumont, nei pressi di Verdun, 20 maggio 1916, 16 h, altitudine 1200 m, fotografia aerea © Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais, photo Marie Bour

Fort Douaumont, near Verdun, 20 May 1916, 4 p.m., altitude 1,200 metres. Aerial Photography Section. © Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais. Photo: Marie Bour.

Gli accusati il 29 novembre 1945 prima della proiezione delle immagini dei campi di concentramento nazisti. Fotogrammi estratti dal film Nuremberg, les nazis face à leurs crimes realizzato da Christian Delage (2006) © Christian Delage, Compagnie des phares et balises, 2006

Photograph of the accused just before the screening of Nazi Concentration Camps on 29 November 1945, still from the film Nuremberg, les nazis face à leurs crimes, directed by Christian Delage (2006). © Chrisian Delage, Compagnie des phares et balises, 2006.

Protocollo di Alphonse Bertillon, Assassinio di monsieur Canon, boulevard de Clichy, 9 dicembre 1914: vista per capovolgimento / Préfecture de police de Paris, Service de l’Identité judiciaire. © Archives de la Préfecture de police de Paris.

Alphonse Bertillon, Murder of Monsieur Canon, boulevard de Clichy, 9 December 1914, Préfecture de police de Paris, Service de l’Identité judiciaire. © Archives de la Préfecture de police de Paris.

Alphonse Bertillon, assassinio di Madame Langlois, il caso di Puteaux, 5 aprile 1905, vista per capovolgimento, Service de l’Identité judiciaire. © Archives de la Préfecture de police de Paris.

Alphonse Bertillon, Murder of Madame Langlois, Puteaux case, 5 April 1905, Préfecture de police de Paris, Service de l’Identité judiciaire. © Archives de la Préfecture de police de Paris.

Messinscena dimostrativa del sistema di fotografia metrica di Bertillon, con un corpo a simulare il cadavere e l’apparecchiatura in posizione. Materiale didattico per corsi e conferenze. Rodolphe A. Reiss, 1925. Collezione dell’Institut de police scientifique dell’Università di Losanna. © R. A. REISS, coll. IPSC

Simulated corpse, demonstration of Bertillion’s metric photography system. For use in classrooms and lectures. Rodolphe A. Reiss, 1925. Collection of the Institut de Police Scientifique et de Criminologie de Lausanne. © R. A. REISS, cnoll. IPSC.

Messinscena dimostrativa del sistema di fotografia metrica di Bertillon, con un corpo a simulare il cadavere e l’apparecchiatura in posizione. Materiale didattico per corsi e conferenze. Rodolphe A. Reiss, 1925. Collezione dell’Institut de police scientifique dell’Università di Losanna. © R. A. REISS, coll. IPSC

Simulated corpse, demonstration of Bertillion’s metric photography system. For use in classrooms and lectures. Rodolphe A. Reiss, 1925. Collection of the Institut de Police Scientifique et de Criminologie de Lausanne. © R. A. REISS, cnoll. IPSC.

Messinscena dimostrativa del sistema di fotografia metrica di Bertillon, con un corpo a simulare il cadavere e l’apparecchiatura in posizione. Materiale didattico per corsi e conferenze. Rodolphe A. Reiss, 1925. Collezione dell’Institut de police scientifique dell’Università di Losanna. © R. A. REISS, coll. IPSC

Simulated corpse, demonstration of Bertillion’s metric photography system. For use in classrooms and lectures. Rodolphe A. Reiss, 1925. Collection of the Institut de Police Scientifique et de Criminologie de Lausanne. © R. A. REISS, cnoll. IPSC.

Sacra Sindone, Torino: viso, tracce di sangue e siero lasciate sulla fronte delle corone di spine. Negativo. Tiraggio realizzato tramite l’ingrandimento del cliché di Giuseppe Enrie (1931-1933). Fondo Paul Vignon ©Institut catholique de Paris, Bibliothèque de Fels.

The Holy Shroud of Turin: face, traces of blood and serum left on the forehead by the crown of thorns. Negative image. Enlargements by Paul Vignon from the photographs taken by Giuseppe Enrie (1931-1933). Fonds Paul Vignon. © Institut catholique de Paris, Bibliothèque de fels.

Stanisław Rytchardovitch Budkiewicz, Polonia, nato 1887 a Łód. Studi superiori, membro del VKP(b), commissario di brigata (ufficiale politico) affidato al servizio di intelligence militare, ufficialmente segretario scientifico per la preparazione dell’Enciclopedia Militare Sovietica. Residente a Mosca, piazza Pouchkine 6, app. 15. Arrestato il 9 giugno 1937. Condannato a morte il 21 settembre 1937. Giustiziato lo stesso giorno. Riabilitato nel 1956 © Archivi Centrali FSB e Archivi Nazionali della Federazione Russa GARF, Mosca, copie pubblicate dagli archivi dell’Associazione Internazionale Memorial, Mosca.

Stanisław Rytchardovitch Budkiewicz, Polish, b. 1887 in Łódz. Higher education, VKP(b) member, brigade commissar (political officer), attached to Army Intelligence, officially scientific secretary for the preparation of the Soviet Military Encyclopaedia. Domiciled in Moscow, Pushkin Square 6, apartment 15. Arrested 9 June 1937. Sentenced to death 21 September 1937. Executed the same day. Rehabilitated 1956. © Central Archives fSB and National Archives from the Russian federation GARf, Moscow, copies published from the Archives of the Association internationale Memorial, Moscow.

Rilievo cartografico con scala e orientamento delle tombe A-Sud, livello 1, squadra di archeologi membri dell’equipe medico-legale della missione Middle East Watch et Physicians for Human Rights, maggio-giugno 1992 © James Briscoe pour Human Rights Watch et Physicians for Human Rights, 1993.

Drawing with scale and orientation of Grave A-South, Level 1. Drawing by James Briscoe, forensic team archaeologist for Middle East Watch and Physicians for Human Rights mission, May-June 1992 © James Briscoe forHuman Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, 1993.


Ilaria Speri

She has been living for many years in Milan, where her interests lie in photography and allied areas. She works on exhibition and publishing projects, in particular with the curatorial collective Fantom. She teaches history of photography at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna. At the same time she carries out research, studies and writes for exhibitions, books and magazines.


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