|Permanent Error, Photographs by Pieter Hugo.|
Published by Prestel, 2011.
Reviewed by Tom Leininger
Pieter Hugo Permanent Error
Photographs by Pieter Hugo
Prestel, Lakewood, 2011. Hardbound. 128 pp., 60 color illustrations, 9-1/2x11-1/2".
On cover of Permanent Error by Pieter Hugo the viewer is greeted by Yakubu Al Hasan. A Medusa-like bale of cables and wires adorns his head while a small rubber tire is slung on his shoulder. This is one of those books that punches you right in the throat before you even open it.
Hugo made the images in 2009 and 2010 in the Agbogbloshie Market in Accra, Ghana. This is one of the places where the first world disposes of their technological trash. The land is dotted with plastics that do not decompose. The workers use empty CRT monitor cases for chairs. They sleep in make shift shelter surrounded by the hell in which they work each day.
Another punch to the throat.
Hugo let go of the desaturated look of his earlier work in the hyena men and the Nollywood images. This feels more like reportage, which he does well with. Hugo's directness comes through and he brings a powerful photographic voice to the horrors.
I am left with a number of questions. One that continues to come back to me is: What do all of the cattle eat? What is it that the workers eat since they appear to live here?
_____________________________Tom Leininger is a photographer and educator based in Denton, Texas. He received his MFA in photography from the University of North Texas. Prior to that he was a newspaper photographer in Indiana. His work can be found at http://tomleininger.net.