February 5, 2014 - March 2, 2014
In his series Interrogations, Donald Weber examines the power of the modern state and the effect of institutional violence on citizens living in the former Soviet Union. After visiting Chernobyl on assignment in 2005, Weber soon returned to spend six years photographing contemporary life in Russia and Ukraine. During this period he also established relationships with the Ukrainian police. He eventually gained access to their interrogation rooms to photograph suspected criminals being questioned, all of whom gave permission for their sessions to be documented. Each individual sits within a dimly-lit room covered in faded wallpaper from another era. Only a few images include an interrogator’s hand or weapon, leaving the viewer to confront the anguish, fear, or resignation registered on the faces within each frame.
Weber collaborated with writer Larry Frolick to write a joint statement about the project in his book Interrogations. The following is an excerpt: “The unseen subject of these photographs is Power. They show us the human limits to the understanding of Power. There are many things we don’t know about Power. We don’t know if Power is the same everywhere, if its manifestation in one place and time is meaningful, measurable, subject of the same laws as in another. . . . We do know that Power is dangerous and exhilarating and expands in proportion to its invisibility. We see in these pictures how terror and triumph greet its arrival with the faintest gesture. But we do not pretend to know if Power is made by human societies or it it is the outcome of vast colloquies between nature and history. All we see are the artifacts of Power in its most intimate insinuations. We are those artifacts.”
Donald Weber has exhibited his photography at festivals and venues worldwide including the United Nations, Museum of the Army at Les Invalides in Paris, the Portland Art Museum, and the Alice Austen House Museum in New York. Most recently, Weber has shown Interrogations at Photoville in New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Duke and Duchess of York Photography Prize, two World Press Photo awards, PDN’s 30, and he was named an Emerging Photo Pioneer by American Photo. Weber is also a member of the acclaimed VII Photo Agency. Blue Sky exhibited Weber’s The Underclass and its Bosses in 2008.