Agents and Perspectives

(Out of Syria, Inside Facebook. Syrischer Kriegsalltag in der Social-Media-Bildsprache von Amateurfotografen)
How do people behave in times of war? How have they responded to, and processed, the bomb attacks in Syria? How are people there responding to terrorism on the part of armed individuals?

“Wars are now fought for and in the media.” Gerhard Paul

For my selection of a collection of images within the framework of this project, I wanted to show everyday life and the collective memory that is directly linked to it in the Syrian war zone. As mentioned above, I wanted to scrutinize just how this everyday life looks. Syria has been at war since March 2011. Many people are affected; many participate, yet life in war continues.
Because life continues, there is always a way for people to express themselves and to live in the virtual world of social networks in order to be present. This virtual world is one where, with a single click, people can share their entire lives in the real world of users. The people caught up in the war, especially younger people, see these social networks as an escape from the reality they must experience. People from all social classes share in current events by sharing their everyday lives in Facebook. Nowadays, social networks offer a virtual space for communication: Facebook is no different. Against the background of the real dangers of everyday life in war, many people are seeking alternatives. This deals both with perception and with everyday recognitions and their fleeting nature. On the one hand, Facebook offers a platform to reconstruct everyday life. On the other, it creates a critical distance to reality, a foundation for the visualisation of resistance. A new, qualitative dimension arises via the aesthetics of the images. In such a social situation, normal everyday life can no longer be lived. This platform offers many liberating possibilities that lead to the creative transformation of everyday life in war. This is how situations of war become socially and culturally aesthetic communication events or even transform themselves into a reflection of support, or even criticism, of the political situation. Pictures of everyday life in war reveal many details at both the personal and public levels. These images give us the impression that the lives of those living in the war zone have reduced themselves to this virtual world, and that they nonetheless try to reflect everyday life.
It is interesting to note that today’s picture motifs are no different from those of the past. Since the introduction of the camera, both professional photographers as well as amateurs have been interested in the same motifs. This phenomenon can be seen primarily in social networks – with a difference in technology. These days, anyone can be a photographer. Thanks to digital cameras and the new smartphones that offer good picture resolution, amateur photography has become quite popular. All experiences are documented and archived.