Brigitte Grignet, born in Belgium, first studied economics before moving to New York, where she turned to photography, studying at the International Center of Photography. She worked with Mary Ellen Mark for 10 years, and is represented by L’Agence Vu’ in Paris. Her pictures have been seen in many publications including Newsweek, Double Take, PDN, Le Monde, and Days Japan.
Brigitte is interested in a more personal, emotional type of documentary photography, going beyond exoticism of places and moments. She has documented indigenous communities in Guatemala, Colombia, and Chile. She started to photograph in Palestine in 2005, in collaboration with Action Contre la Faim, where she focuses on everyday life and people, rather than violence and sensationalism.
TribalTruth is pleased to present her photographs from Palestine. Here is an introduction to her project Palestine – Unfortunately It Was Paradise.
The Middle East conflict is probably one of the most studied conflicts in history. Every day we hear about the Occupied Territories but all we can get from the news is a feeling of confusion and violence. Behind the sensational images we see on television are human faces, families, everyday lives. We can only connect with people when we hear their stories. Otherwise, reading about suicide bombings and political problems doesn’t mean so much to other people.
The Palestinian population, taken in hostage between the Israeli security policy, Hamas and the Palestinian Authorities strategies, is in a precarious situation: victim of unemployment, under strict control of movement, making commercial exchanges impossible with the outside world and access to public health services very difficult, the Palestinians don’t have any means to demand respect of their basic human rights. The political environment is conductive to the development of violent strategies causing a feeling of permanent insecurity and an increasing feeling of fatalism. People feel forgotten.
From what we read, see, it sometimes feels that the Palestinian population is an abstraction. There are 4 millions lives, who all have their story. How is it possible to go on with life in a place that has been occupied for more than 40 years? How can people cope with the lack of hope? This work wants to reflect the difficulties faced by Palestinians, their indomitable will to survive difficult situations and the continual quest to build and live within a life of dignity and grace.
To see more of this project and some of Brigitte’s other projects from Chile, Colombia, and Guatemala visit her website here
Tags: Belgium, Brigitte Grignet, community, conflict, documentary photography, everyday life, forgotton people, Hamas, human rights, indigenous communities, International Center of Photography, Israel, Le Monde, Mary Ellen Mark, Middle East, Newsweek, occupied territory, PALESTINE, Palestinian Authority, politics, public health, suicide bombings, unemployment, violence