Despite their seeming singularity of purpose, in Kai Wiedenhöfer’s new book Confrontier, no two border walls are the same.
The project’s genesis began in 1989, when, as a student, Wiedenhöfer photographed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Born in Berlin in 1966, he had lived his whole life in the wall’s shadow and its sudden destruction made an indelible impression on the young photographer. Like many who watched the Cold War end, Wiedenhöfer thought that historic moment would close the door on an era of human history defined by walls. That optimism would be eroded by years spent working on-and-off in the Occupied Territories, starting in the late 1980s, a place where walls and barriers have come to define the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.
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