Normal people surrounded by war, horror, poverty, injustice and hunger form the subjects of Omar Havana’s new photo exhibition, Faces, launching tonight at FCC Angkor and running until November 26.
The exhibition contains images from Libya during the recent war, from Cairo’s Tahrir Square uprising, the Bangkok Red Shirt revolution and from Cambodia.
Havana says his aim is to highlight the forgotten people, adding, “Basically it’s about the people that are never going to be in the media. People surrounded by war or by poverty that are not interesting for the media any more. If you are covering a war the media will always ask you about dead people, about blood, about car bombs, but when you have a story about people living inside war or a revolution, they are never interested.
“As photojournalists we decide to go inside a war, we take a plane, we get in, we get out. But these people are living there, always. And it’s these people that really have the stories.”
Havana says that despite the title, the exhibition is not exclusively about close-up face shots.
“What I mean with Faces is the difference between faces and portraits. Faces, for me, is a face in a situation basically. There are portraits as well, but is the expression on the faces depending on the situation.”
Many of the thirty photos in the exhibition depict a face in a crowd. For example, two young boys in the middle of Tahrir Square, one with startling, wide, blue eyes gazing upwards.
Havana says that the most important photos for him have always been those of children.
“Children are supposed to be in school and they are fighting a war. So children have always been the main focus. There is a picture actually in Tahrir, it was just five minutes before the fighting started between the police and the normal people, and you can see a barrier of children. You see one of them – the face tells you what was happening there.”
Havana makes an odd and perhaps very honest comment about the work he has chosen for the exhibition, saying the photos are not his “best pictures.”
“But I think probably it’s about the best stories that I’ve ever followed. It’s not an exhibition, let’s say, 100 per cent about photography. Nobody is going to say, ‘Ok the technique is great.’ No, it’s just about people.”
After the exhibition’s month-long run at FCC Angkor, Havana aims to take the idea to different countries.
There are plans for Faces to be shown next year in New York’s Soho Gallery, in Madrid and in Granada.
Havana expects the show to change, depending on what he photographs between now and then.