Hasan and Husain Essop

Notes on Hasan and Husain Essop

Video: Figures & Fictions: Hasan and Husein Essop – Victoria and Albert Museum (2011) At: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/videos/f/figures-and-fictions-hasan-and-husein-essop/ (Accessed 11/08/2020).

The V&A video allows the brothers to explain their working methods and at the same time explain why they regard it as necessary to construct these fictional scenes. Their view seems to be that the tension between the traditional Muslim lifestyle they grew up in, and which is expected of them, and other viewpoints offered by popular culture, is not something that can be readily depicted using genuine scenes. Effectively they want to depict something that exists but not necessarily in a physical for than can be photographed.

To me this seems a perfectly valid approach and really what art has been doing for centuries anyway. The titles that they assign to their work operate in exactly the same way that they would in classical painting. What makes this different to other documentary photography is that they know exactly what the photograph should look like before they shoot. Since they are using their work to communicate ideas that may not actually exist in physical form, it is entirely their own vision and any question of objectivity cannot apply. To me this is absolutely fair and is what art is about anyway.

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