Bleed.
Photographs by Simon Norfolk.
Dewi Lewis Publishing, Stockport, 2005. 64 pp., 24 color illustrations, slipcased, 16x13".

About the Ltd Edition
It’s strange, at first, that a book this big does not contain the kind of all-encompassing, Gursky-esque vistas that almost demand this kind of book real estate. No, the meditative macro views that begin Norfolk’s third book are sheets of ice whose bubbles and pockets of frozen nature hid a conspiracy. The secret they covered has been the focus of ongoing forensic and political inquiry, and is the real subject of Bleed: the mass graves of former Yugoslavia, where Serb forces buried their mostly Muslim victims—not once, but twice. After learning that the UN would seek to prosecute the participants in these widespread massacres, the Serbs disinterred thousands of corpses and reburied them in mass graves in more remote locations, under cover of night. This grim innovation in the history of atrocity is Norfolk’s worrystone, and he tells the story of the killings, reburials and discovery of the graves through historical comment and the careful, cinematic sequence of these pictures. A symbolic zooming out from the ice to undifferentiated banks of snow, to forests and soccer fields (other reburial sites), and ultimately to the evidence rooms of the UN investigators, the photos almost totally eschew the kinds of signifiers that constitute most pictures of war and its aftermath; this is a very different project than his Afghanistan work. We are left with the mute witness and elegant depiction of nature in winter, an arcade of trees, a blood-red pond of aluminum tailings. At the end of the book, two pictures— one, a rubber glove floating under the ice, the other a skull and a red mug among forest leaves—demonstrate why a head-on documentary approach wasn’t chosen for this body of work. In this sorrowful part of the world, landscape itself is evidence. ALAN RAPP

Also available from Dewi Lewis publishing is a collectors edition of Bleed, which includes a print encased in clear plexiglass along with the slip-cased book.
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