Simon Norfolk may not be the first photographer to explore the atrocities of war and devastation in the world, but his keen eye and compassionate heart lead him to focus on the areas of genocide that have (and remain to have) made such a dark mark on our `civilized ` world. His images are tense and troubling and grab our attention as though to remind us of the atrocities that have happened, are happening, and will happen until we take responsibility for making the planet a peaceful dwelling place.
Norfolk is not as well known or appreciated as he should be. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1963 and educated in England, finishing at Oxford and Bristol Universities with a degree in philosophy and sociology. After leaving a documentary photography course in Newport, South Wales, Norfolk worked for far-left publications specializing in work on anti-racist activities and fascist groups, in particular the British National Party. In 1994 he gave up photojournalism in favor of landscape photography.
This book For Most of It I Have No Words: Genocide, Landscape, Memory, about the places that have witnessed genocide, was published in 1998. The work was exhibited at many venues, including the Imperial War Museum in London, the Nederlands Foto Instituut, and the Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas. Photographs of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, published as Afghanistan: Chronotopia, won the European Publishers' Award for Photography and an award from the Foreign Press Club of America and was nominated for the Citibank Prize. It is a staggering experience to read - and an experience everyone should share. We must learn form history, not keep repeating it. Grady Harp, March 12