Gideon Mendel | Damage



These images derive from the 1980s when I was documenting the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and the monumental events leading up to the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.

I stored a box of my outtakes, color negatives, and transparencies from this era, in a friend’s garage, where they got wet and moldy.

Ironically, the rediscovery of this material coincided with my collecting of flood-damaged personal snapshots, which is part of my ongoing Drowning World project.  I am fascinated by the chemical effects of water on the surface of negatives and prints, and how this plays on notions of damage to memory, both communal and personal.

My neglect of this secondary archive yielded some remarkable results. The damage invites us to reflect on the idealism behind revolution and the outcomes that the march of history produces.