Insert (Narrative)

Essay 484 • Aug 23rd 2021

A gaze is formed by looking upon; controlled by those holding the camera. The “African experience” is often presented by predominantly white, male photographers. These visual tropes still retain a strong usage. They win awards, they reinforce the narrative the Western world often relishes of the ‘Othered’. The theme of the non-Western shown as being tinted in poverty porn, the war torn, the exploited culture.

There’s a copy/paste of subject posed in composition; neither being remarkably individual or intimate in representation, but rather an easy go-to idol of recognisability. By intentionally removing the subjects from the imagery, canvas ghosts fill the frame - void of features - these subjects refract the Western error of immensely exhausted tokens. The use of canvas acts as a reminder of the commodity of classical art and its modern translation to the tradability of photographs in predominantly Western markets. The images themselves are accompanied by titled texts describing the placement of the scene with the repeated use of insert (….) being a reference to that of coding languages, particularly to the practise of inserting a specified value at a specified position. The terminology reinforces a mechanical attribute to this tokenization of subject and scene.

As part of a photographic group exhibition titled Die Gegenwart at Studio Beta in Berlin, from the 20th of August till the 7th September 2021.


Gabriella Achadinha
From South Africa, residing in Berlin currently, Gabriella’s photographic work is heavily influenced by cinema and re-creating snippets of scenes.
Drawn to moments of individual stillness and contemplation, architectural spaces, personal relationships to public areas and snippets of the daily, her aim is to hone in on the essence of a frame’s narrative. This need to capture both the surface and the underlying has led to a tendency towards working with mixed media elements alongside the photographic.
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