Some may think these photographs depressing or downbeat, but even so, this does not mean that they should be dismissed for having no other purpose other than to preach.
Marcus Bleasdale manages to walk the fine line in his latest exhibition, at Anastasia Photo Gallery in New York until October 21, which features images from 10 years spent in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). People walk through a dust bowl as the wind in a photograph that portrays more desperation than Steve McCurry's Dust Storm, a four-year old looks through a muslin curtain as they wait to be treated for malaria and a child not yet a teenager rides a bike through a country lane - pleasant enough until you notice the machine gun on his back.
Their first purpose may be to prove a point and shock people into doing something - they have and they continue to do - but it is possible to look at them and appreciate the sheer artistic talent of the photographer to create such atmospheric photographs, to connect with the subjects without having to resort to images of extreme poverty and starvation.
When looking at Bleasdale's images, you connect with the people in them, you can imaging being in that atmosphere, you can imagine what it was like to be there, at the time the photograph was taken. And so Bleasdale's work is done, subtly, but he hits the target.
Bleasdale joins his fellow photographers from the VII Photo Agency in Questions Without Answers from Phaidon which is due to be published this October. There's rumours that the proof copies are on their way into Phaidon HQ this week so I will be sure to keep you updated. It looks to be one of the best books this season.
Images sourced from Anastasia-Photo.com