This week in Russia, Alexei Navalny was sentenced to over two years in prison, partly for violating parole while in a coma from a state-sponsored murder attempt. Following a week of large-scale demonstrations across Russia protesting his arrest, the skilled lawyer and anti-corruption activist stood in court before his sentencing and stated, “I hope very much that people won’t look at this trial as a signal that they should be more afraid. This isn’t a demonstration of strength—it’s a show of weakness. You can’t lock up millions and hundreds of thousands of people. I hope very much that people will realize this. And they will. Because you can’t lock up the whole country.”

In this issue of e-flux journal, Ariel Goldberg and Yazan Khalili reflect on photographic images’ ties to violence, surveillance, and the state—“the camera that eats all other cameras.” In their essay “We Stopped Taking Pictures,” the recently appointed cochairs of the photography department at Bard’s MFA program explain the irony of their own coincidental decisions to stop taking pictures themselves by identifying a vastly expanded photographic regime that the field must now account for. Today, the two photographers who stopped taking pictures teach their graduate students through photographic media (webcams) about the double-edged sword of surveillance—the CCTV footage from cameras Palestinians install to prevent theft that are also used by the IDF to surveil them, or the cop who kills regardless of his body camera or the bystander filming him. The overabundance of photographic documentation makes harder questions necessary. For example: “How can one photograph laws, these less visual forms of violence that remain the status quo?”…

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