Belfast Exposed: People in Trouble

Photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin Spotlight the Hidden Faces of Conflict

A cluster of balloons, a boxer’s right hook and a trio of scantily clad ladies offer an unexpected glimpse into daily life in North Ireland during the height of the Troubles in today’s portfolio by South African-born, London-based photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. Excerpted from their new series People in Trouble Laughing Pushed to the Ground, the images are the result of a collaboration with contemporary gallery Belfast Exposed, who commissioned the artists to respond to the material in their archive—a collection begun in 1983 to document the everyday reality of the conflict. The pair chose photos that had been marked with dots by editors to denote their selections, then removed the stickers and re-printed the circular sections that had previously been covered. “It’s this magical mix of the mundane and the craziness of this struggle going on,” says Broomberg of the contact sheets in the collection, which juxtapose scenes of police in riot gear with adolescents canoodling. “Because there’s so much normal everyday life it’s quite voyeuristic as an outsider,” he adds. Former Colors magazine editors, Broomberg and Chanarin have exhibited in prestigious institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the International Center of Photography. The duo will publish the Belfast Exposed series in its entirety in their seventh book together alongside an exhibition at London’s Paradise Row which opens next week.

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