Artist of the month -JULES GAUTHIER
From July 2013 to December 2016, the great city of Aleppo was the scene of the most violent conflicts seen by Syrians since the beginning of the civil war in 2011. During almost four and a half years, the country’s former economic capital saw itself torn apart by a merciless war of attrition between Bachar al-Assad’s armed forces and various rebel revolutionary militias and jihadists present in the ancient city.
Like Beirut between 1975 and 1990, Aleppo was split into two distinct zones by the combats; the Westerns districts remained under control of the Syrian regime, while rebel forces held the Eastern part. The border between these two territories remained sealed, making it impossible to cross from one side to the other. In December 2016, after a long siege and violent bombings, government forces reclaimed full control of the city.
#INSTALEPPO/ is a photo project that takes a look at the daily-life in West-Aleppo and at the effects of conflict on the structure and organization of the city. For me, it is about displaying simple images of everyday banality; on the streets in a city in war. These little moments caught on the sly are above all, part of my photographic journal that I have been fleshing out since my first visit to Syria in 2013. In lieu of recording impressions in a notebook, I take pictures with an old cell phone. During my visits to Aleppo, such procedures became necessary due to proximity to the conflict and because of the suspicious attitude of Syrian authorities towards photographers. In order to produce my project about the city, I left my camera on the sidelines, and used my cell phone, which proved to be an excellent master key.