Ziyah Gafić: „… if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all“1
In their clear formal structure and their aesthetic condensation, the photographs in the series Quest for Identity by Ziyah Gafić do not arouse the viewer’s empathy by means of a shock effect. On the contrary, they evoke the atrocities in the unillustrated, in the in-between, in the imagination of the observers. A fundamental question of war photography is touched on here: How much suffering must be shown in order for people to act? The photographer, born in Sarajevo in 1980, also shows these photographs in exhibitions, moving between utilitarian photography and the context of art. However, their aesthetic content does not diminish their affective power. In their condensed and restrained depiction, the appeal of these photographs, which use not least the principles of the serial, can unfold even more forcefully on many different levels. Gafić has also photographed in other areas of conflict and war such as Palestine, Kurdistan, Rwanda and Afghanistan. He constantly focuses on the consequences of these conflicts. His insight is that it’s always about ownership; all wars are alike. If you have seen one war, you have seen them all.
1 See Ziyah Gafić: ‚Ziyah Gafić‘, in: The Calvert Journal, https://www.calvertjournal.com/features/show/7103/ziyah-gafic (Accessed 10 March 2018).