Hayal & Hakikat: A Handbook of Forgiveness & a Handbook of Punishment by Cemre Yesil Gönenli.
First edition (2020). First impression. No markings. This is a brand new book.
About Hayal & Hakitat: A Handbook of forgiveness & a Handbook of Punishment
In Hayal & Hakitat, Gönenli documents the hands of prisoners from the early 20th century. During the Ottoman Empire and at the time, it was believed that different criminals could be classified depending on the shape and size of their hands. Furthermore, the main belief was that any criminal with a thumb joint longer than the index finger joint was prone to murder. The images in the book were used to classify the prisoners with the aim of prevent and punish the 'murderous' ones.
Abdul Hamid II utilised photography as a tool for documenting the modernisation of the Ottoman Empire at the start of the 20th Century. A photography studio was build inside the Yıldız Palace and albums reproduced and sent across the world as a testament to the progress of the Ottoman Empire. Abdul Hamid II himself rarely left Istanbul but commissioned photographs so he could become acquainted with his own country, otherwise invisible to his eye.
Hence, this book brings to the viewer a part of history that was meticulously hidden away and never looked back at. A period of pseudo-science and very few worries about humanitarian conditions. Gönenli cropped out the faces of the subjects so their emotional state is ambiguous. The fate of the individual prisoners remains unknown as there is no record of the verdict of Abdul Hamid II after viewing the hands awaiting forgiveness.
About Cemre Yesil Gönenli
Cemre Yesil is a Turkish photographer and a visual story teller living in Istanbul. Her BA in photography is from Istanbul Bilgi University and she holds an MA in Visual Arts from Sabancı University. In 2017, she dropped out her practice-based PhD in London College of Communication. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally including The Guardian, International Centre of Photography New York, British Journal of Photography, Colors Magazine and many others.
More books by Cere Yesil Gonenli here
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