With the project Myopia photographer Hillie de Rooij plays a game with the visual characteristics that European media use to depict Africa.
De Rooij collected photographs from various European newspapers, websites and magazines that show Africa. She analyzed each image by appointing the way Africa is portrayed in it. This resulted in a long list of keywords such as; Sand, Wild Animals, Plastic, Dark Child, Reclining Men, Palm Trees, Drought etc. She used this collection of “codes” as guidelines for her photos that she made in Europe, including countries as the Netherlands, Greece, Italy and Norway.
With her work De Rooij makes us aware of the fact that our image of Africa is dominated by a preconceived idea of what Africa looks like. She shows us that we do not simply look at pictures. There are rules and codes involved that affect the way we look at images of the world. We use our memory to interpret images, but in seeking recognition we remain stuck to visual clichés. And this is certainly true for images of places where we’ve never been before. Myopia therefore tells us nothing about Africa, but all about the European view on it.
The book Myopia
The publication contains a fragmentary collection of 3 types of images; the tourist image, the journalistic image and the artistic image of Africa. The book is printed with 3 different techniques on 3 different types of papers which each refer to corresponding media types (travel brochures, newspaper, art book).
About Hillie de Rooij
Hillie de Rooij (Arnhem 1987) lives and works in Amsterdam. Her work originates from a fascination with the way our image and our knowledge about the world is influenced by the images that we see in different media. She is interested in how these images were established, how they are constructed and how we read them.