Mariana Cook: Faces of Justice
Mariana Cook, “Justice”, Lee Marks Fine Art publishing, Shelbyville, 2020.
Mariana Cook gives a face to social justice by portraying pioneers of human rights. That’s because, she says, “I’m a photographer that I understand when I see it. Looking through the camera lens, I hoped to understand how they became so dedicated to the rights and dignity of others”.
The “heroes” she captures come from a variety of countries and from open and closed societies. That’s how varied they are. Some of them have become professional advocates for just causes through their profession. Others have come to such struggles unexpectedly, sometimes forced by the circumstances of their lives.
Mariana Cook, often accompanied by her daughter, has travelled the world to meet, for example, in Johannesburg with Edwin Cameron, a gay and HIV-positive Constitutional Court judge who helped draft the South African Constitution.
Or Thomas Buergenthal in The Hague, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz, who was finishing his ten years at the International Court of Justice. Sometimes the photographer was worried and among others followed by the Myanmar secret police for having photographed and interviewed Aung San Suu Kyi at the headquarters of the National Democratic League in Yangon.
But she was also able to meet many of her subjects in New York when they came to the UN. They moved to her studio. Many of these defenders are dedicated to a cause with which they have a personal connection, but some fight to protect people with whom they have nothing in common except humanity in the image of John Kamm. He testified on behalf of the thousands of Chinese dissidents he helped. But his efforts often remain unknown to their beneficiaries, and what motivates him remains the conviction that there are fundamental human values.
After its exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York, the aim of the photographer’s latest book is therefore to pay tribute to the courage of thought and action in which reason and fairness prevail.
Source: Alliance Mag