“Africa doesn’t exist.” This sentence is posted next to images exhibited by Swiss photographer Dominic Nahr. It is a quotation from journalist Georg Brunold’s reports from Africa – and relevant to Nahr’s work. His photographic oeuvre is now on show at the Swiss Photography Foundation in Winterthur. The exhibition’s title is “Blind Spots”.
The dark spots are South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo: four African states that can’t provide inhabitants with basic necessities and security. Four countries whose problems are rooted in their colonial history or caused in part by other external influences.
To this day, these volatile states are at the mercy of interest groups and foreign powers’ hunger for profit. Internal conflicts and civil war prevent political and social stability. Nahr has worked in these countries for years. “Blind Spots” shows a small section of life on the big continent.
The exhibition also addresses photographic questions: What is it permissible to show? How much beauty is allowed in portrayals of terrible things? How do you avoid ethnic clichés?
Nahr was born in 1983 in canton Appenzell and grew up in Hong Kong. After stints in Toronto, Berlin, Cairo and Nairobi, he has now returned to Switzerland. We met the young photographer to discuss his life and his work.