Pieter Hugo Redeemed

I was distrustful of his over-close, highly detailed records of light-skinned, Albino African faces that featured in his catalogue of facial portraits from 2005 and 2006. I liked his 2007 book, The Hyena and Other Men, quite a bit. I was put off by Nollywood, as I intimated in my review for photo-eye.

But this portfolio, “A Global Graveyard for Dead Computers in Ghana,” on the New York Times web site brings me back into the Pieter Hugo fold. He’s tied people to the post-industrial myth once again, but unlike the “dream machine” and its exemplary spear carriers that I cited in my Nollywood review, the situation in the Agbogbloshie dump in Accra, Ghana, is a waking nightmare, far more insidious and toxic. His photographs in this portfolio address both cause and complication, and veer just far enough from the people to address the dangers–burning computers, keyboards leaching metals into the ground, child laborers supporting distant families at sub-subsistence, scavenger pay.

Bravo, Pieter, and thanks.

Special thanks to Lori Waselchuk for circulating the link.

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