LIKE • Ryan Debolski
Ryan Debolski and Jason Koxvold, 2020, 136 Pages, 96 images, approx. 9.5"x12.5", EDITION of 450; First edition, first printing, 2020, Gnomic Book
Shortlisted for the Aperture/Paris Photo Photobook Awards
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Ryan Debolski made this work during a year in Oman as part of his Fulbright Fellowship in 2014. LIKE explores the physical and digital relationships of the migrant workers who build the infrastructure of Oman, a rapidly modernizing country rich in oil and natural gas. These men, predominantly from East Africa and the Indian subcontinent, communicate using widely available, low-cost smartphones that help them cope with the social isolation they face while living in camps for years. As quickly as new friends are made, others disappear without a trace, never to be heard from again: workers are deported for various reasons, or shuffled around to different camps throughout the region.
The book includes an essay by Jason Koxvold entitled Raw Material: Capital and Exploitation at the Neoliberal Frontier, which lays out the work in the context of the history of representation of labour in art.
In the press:
The British Journal of Photography
The Brooklyn Rail