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This is a study of home, of a very particular idea of home at a very particular time in our history, and the lives of people whose paths crossed on 45 square miles of Cuba, cut off from the rest of the world by razor wire and water.




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Photo by Edmund Clark
Photo by Edmund Clark

Rather than attempting to monumentalize the historical fact of the Guantanamo camps, this work explores three notions of home: The naval base at Guantanamo, home to the American community; the complex of detention camps on the naval base where detainees are held; and homes where former detainees now find themselves trying to rebuild their lives in Europe and the Middle East.

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Photo by Edmund Clark
Photo by Edmund Clark

The series’ disjointed narrative aims to convey the sense of disorientation and dislocation central to the daily experience of incarceration at Guantanamo, and to explore the legacy of disturbance such experiences have in the minds and memories of these men.



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Photo by Edmund Clark
Photo by Edmund Clark

The viewer is asked to jump from prison camp detail to domestic still life; from life outside the naval base and back again – from light to dark.





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Photo by Edmund Clark
Photo by Edmund Clark







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Photo by Edmund Clark
Photo by Edmund Clark







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Photo by Edmund Clark
Photo by Edmund Clark







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Photo by Edmund Clark
Photo by Edmund Clark

Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out
Photographs by Edmund Clark
February 7 - May 4, 2013

Watch opening reception talk by Edmund Clark from February 7, 2013.



Press about the Exhibition

Medill—February 8—Terror and abuse: Guantanamo in pictures unravels in Chicago 
Slate—April 23—Life at Guantanamo, and What Happens Next

About the Exhibition

"When you are suspended by a rope you can recover but every time I see a rope I remember. If the light goes out unexpectedly in a room, I am back in my cell."
  —Binyam Mohamed, Prisoner #1458

This is a study of home--of a very particular idea of home at a very particular time in our history.

Rather than an attempt to monumentalize the Guantanamo camps, these images illustrate three ideas of home: The naval base at Guantanamo which is home to the American community and of which the prison camps are just a part; the complex of camps where the detainees have been held, and the homes, new and old, where the former detainees now find themselves trying to rebuild their lives. The narrative of these images aims to evoke the process of disorientation and dislocation central to the techniques of incarceration at Guantanamo, and to explore the legacy of disturbance such experiences have in the minds and memories of these men. The viewer is asked to jump from prison camp detail to domestic still life, from life outside to the naval base and back again. From light to dark.

Interspersed within these images are Letters To Omar, a selection of cards and letters sent to UK resident Omar Deghayes during his five years of captivity at the Guantanamo Bay detention camps. Some are from his family and his lawyer, but the majority are from people around the world who had never met Omar. These are the choices they made in terms of images and words to send to a man in a cell thousands of miles away. At Guantanamo, everything Omar was sent was transformed and degraded by a process of scanning, redaction, archiving and stamping. Original cards and letters became abstracted copies made complicit in the process of control, and reflections of the subjugation and degradation of the recipient. Omar never saw the original documents.

About the Photographer

Edmund Clark is best known for his award-winning work on the representation of control and incarceration through the monographs Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out (2010) and Still Life Killing Time (2007). His new work Control Order House (2012) continues his exploration of these themes in relation to the ‘War on Terror.’

After studying for a degree in History at the University of Sussex and the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, he worked in international research in London and Brussels before gaining a postgraduate photojournalism diploma at the London College of Communications. 

Clark was awarded the Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal for outstanding photography for public service in 2011. He was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet for 2012 for the theme of Power.

His work has been published and exhibited widely and is held in national and international museum collections including the National Portrait Gallery, the Imperial War Museum and the National Media Museum in the UK and the George Eastman House and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA.


Co-sponsored by the The Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project, College of Arts and Sciences at Roosevelt University, and by generous financial support from Susan B. Rubnitz.

The Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project, is a program unique in the US, in which students conduct comparative research on the promotion of human rights in the US and abroad. They then use that research to generate advocacy strategies for promoting human rights and social justice in Chicago. Students engage in a series of seminars with national and local leaders in the year's designated advocacy area, which are also open to the public and the larger Roosevelt University community and then travel abroad for analogous seminars with human rights advocates and scholars in another country.

Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out is a touring exhibition organized by Professor Michael Ensdorf, and Roosevelt University. Download exhibit rental information.

Exhibition courtesy of Edmund Clark.