Abstract

This article explores photographic works produced by key members of the Minsk School of Photography before and after the collapse of the USSR in the 1980s and 1990s. Mostly reworking found images from the Soviet past, these artists employed the visual language of that period to disassociate themselves from Soviet practices of photographic recording. Appropriating conventions of the portrait genre, the Minsk photographers used them to create a stream of obfuscated representations in which individuals are presented devoid of their originary contexts, biographies, and, frequently, faces. Through their de-facing tactics, these photographers visualized forms of indirect postcolonial presence. Erasing subjectivity and abstracting imprints of lived experience, their vicarious photography articulates a model of dealing with history that allows presence without identity or identification.

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