Massimo Berruti – Patchounistan: Lashkars

Massimo Berruti, Vallée de Swat, Mahnbanr, 2010 © Massimo Berruti-MAPSimages for the Fondation Carmignac
Massimo Berruti, Swat Valley, Mahnbanr, 2010 © Massimo Berruti-MAPSimages for the Fondation Carmignac

04 November - 03 December 2011

Massimo Berruti’s Lashkars exhibition revives the spirit of the great reportage, faithfully reflecting the bravery of these men and boys who, hour by hour, day and night, overcome the constant fear of another Taliban raid. The selection, which includes 14 panoramas, highlights the emotions of participants in this drama using a diverse choice of compositions to reflect different perspectives. It switches between close-ups and wideangle shots, night scenes and scenes of daily life, abstract evocations and variations inspired by local topography. The images implicitly reveal the continuation of Lashkar ancestral traditions.

Alongside a collection of copies of Renaissance paintings and sculptures housed in the old chapel of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Massimo Berruti’s photographs do not offer as much contrast as one might have imagined. These testimonies of artistic heritage resonate easily with images where highly symbolic guns are omnipresent, even in intimate scenes, as the same question raised by these works of art is that which manages to call out to viewers, forcing them to contemplate the issues involved.

The 52 photographs appear in chronological order giving a continuous narrative, yet going backwards and forwards, echoing Massimo Berruti’s comings and goings in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan as he completed his reportage and, in particular, in line with the restrictions and inspections imposed by the military authorities. The winner of the 2010 Carmignac photojournalism Award has concentrated on representations detached from current affairs, favouring a humanist approach that looks to break with the Western vision of the Pashtun people, who are often accused of providing a breeding ground for terrorists. Unlike the method of producing news photographs, which are born of urgency, the Carmignac photojournalism Award concentrates on an approach that can be described as an art of remembering, an approach that requires time and presence in high-risk regions.

With no trace of corpses or visible atrocities, the value of Massimo Berruti’s photographs lies in their capture of fleeting moments that will now go down in history.

Chapelle des Beaux-Arts de Paris

13 quai Malaquai
75006 Paris

Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm


Massimo Berruti – Patchounistan: Lashkars