Dust • Patrick Wack
Shortlisted for the Paris Photo–Aperture PhotoBook Awards 2022
2021, Photographs by Patrick Wack, Texts by Rémi Castets and Dru C. Gladney, Design by João Lineu, Binded, 9.5 x 12.5 inches, 176 pages, 71 colour pictures, French/english, André Frère Éditions.
The monograph Dust gathers four years of work by French documentary photographer Patrick Wack shot in the areas of Central Asia known as East Turkistan or Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the current Chinese administration.
In recent years, the region has been at the centre of an international outcry following the mass-incarceration of its Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities. This body of work captures a visual narrative of the region and is a testimony to its abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia.
In 2016 and 2017, Wack spent more than two months in Xinjiang photographing Out West, his first long-term project about the region. He decided to return in 2018, upon reading reports of the mass arbitrary detention system being set up there. In 2019, he travelled to Xinjiang on two separate occasions for another project, The Night Is Thick. This second reportage aimed at documenting life under acute repression among the Uyghur minority alongside the disturbing simultaneous increase of Han-Chinese tourism in the region.
These images have been widely published and exhibited over the past four years, illustrating the situation in the region, and have received numerous accolades. Recent events in Xinjiang are now considered some of the most severe crimes against humanity currently unfolding in the world and this project is possibly the most complete photographic documentation of the region in recent years.