Photography reveals what is hidden, it can be subtle (or not), it can show the truth without filters, and sometimes it can help us foreshadow incoming events. It’s both a multi-faceted art form and medium for information, which Christopher Lee presented through two photographic series he created: Domestic Violence in the Time of Covid-19, and the January 2021 Capitol assault.
By Camille AUCHERE and Clément KASSER
- « I saw the pandemic as an opportunity to talk about issues that were previously underreported. »
- On his photo series on domestic violence, « I challenged myself to prove that the notion of ‘safe-space’ was disappearing with COVID-19. »
- Speaking on the US Capitol riot of January 2021: « When you snap everyday life, you capture all the moments that led up to that particular moment. »
Armed with his camera, Christopher Lee used the Covid-19 crisis to illustrate day-to-day suffering. The kind of suffering we don’t usually talk about.
Domestic violence cases have been on the rise during Covid. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), violence against women tends to increase during any emergency, including epidemics. Lee photographed lawyers, psychologists, and crisis hotline volunteers in the intimacy and privacy of their homes while they were trying to help victims of domestic abuse. It was Lee’s way to humanize these professionals. It was also an opportunity to show another side of society: the one where some people feel safer at work than at home.
« Photography does not only play a role in revealing violence, it is also used for whistleblowing purposes » , Lee said.
Lee was one of the main photographers of the violent assault that took the Capitol by storm in January 2021 in Washington. What became a painful event for many Americans, barely surprised the photographer. He says he captured the beginnings of it months before, as he observed the rise of paramilitary groups throughout the US. Times magazine honored Lee’s work on the front page of its « Best Photographs of 2021 » edition.