Mohamed Bourouissa

Mohamed Bourouissa is referenced on page 19 of the course notes as an example of a documentary photographer who uses imaginative strategies as part of his practice.

Bourouissa is again cited on page 78 as an example of photographic work which challenges conventional perceptions of documentary by bringing real and imaginary experiences together and presenting them in a way that it becomes impossible to tell what is real and what is not, although, he asserts that his photographs are representative of scenes he has seen or experienced. His series ‘périphérique’ (2005-2009) is an example of this approach – on first glance the images appear as traditional documentary, based in the real world and apparently captured in an immediate manner. The knowledge that they are in fact fictional reconstructions leads to a reappraisal about what we are viewing – the complexity and messiness of the real world captured by a photograph is quite different to something that has been deliberately staged in this way and details which at first seemed insignificant become important as we now know Bourouissa has included them for a reason. In principle I admire Bourouissa’s approach here, however, the only context I have is the course notes and I find myself wanting more background into his intent. If I compare these fictional documents to the work of other photographers who work in this mode, for example Jeff Wall, I find that without prior knowledge Bourouissa’s work would be placed as objective documentary while there is always the suspicion that what we are looking at in Wall’s photographs are constructed. Ultimately, I am unsure whether the realistic documentary approach of Bourouissa aids or detracts from the reading of the work, if the intent is to be unsettled by the ambiguous nature of the images and the lack of clear signposting about what they represent they are undoubtedly a success.

Bouroussia - lecouloir


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