05 march - 23 april 2022
The photographic reproductions, anonymous and dated from the 11th to the 31st of December 1941, provide entry points into the start of the Philippine Campaign in Manila by the Japanese. The photographs—some with human subjects, others filled only by landscape, rubble, or smoke—occupy a significant time period, the earliest dated a mere three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, through the bombing of the Open City of Manila on the 26th, and the retreat of Philippine and US forces to Bataan until the 31st.
The relationship between war and photography is storied, breathtaking as it is traumatic. 1941 simmers between two other such poignant apprehensions of liminal, yet interconnected, milieus: Proto Photo Educator sheds a light on Teodulo Protomartir (1902–1977) whose pioneering use and promotion of mass-manufactured 35mm film cameras conjured scenes of 20th century Philippines before, during, and in the aftermath of the Pacific War.. Take Over by Eloi Hernandez references the mood swings of our current pandemic time in iPhone photographs of nature taking over the University of the Philippines Campus, an academic institution built in what was envisioned to be the new national capital. The photographs in these exhibitions evoke moments of eeriness and destruction, but also suggest the possibility of creative force to emerge, just as the images of smoke plumes, gigantic and rising ceaselessly beyond the viewfinder’s scope, inspire wonder as well as terror.
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