Interrogations by Donald Weber is not a new book (it was published at the end of 2011) but it bears a look now for three reasons. Firstly, it’s excellent in a most shocking way – a fact that has led to reason two, it’s inclusion in the latest volume of The Photobook: A History, Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s important publication in the field of photography that collates and analyses the best and most historically important photobooks.
The third reason for revisiting Interrogations is the current unrest involving Russia, Ukraine and the Crimea region. Weber, an award-winning Canadian photojournalist, travelled to Chernobyl in 2005 and shortly afterwards embarked on a six-year stint in Russia and Ukraine, photographing daily life and investigating relationships between Power and The State. Accompanied by the thoughts of author David Frolick, Weber takes us into the real interrogation rooms of Ukraine – accessed after years of building trust with local police – where suspected criminals are being grilled. What we see makes unpalatable viewing, full of fear, desperation and resignation, and raises disturbing questions about civil liberties in a manner both topically relevant and a chilling reminder of an even more authoritarian past. Interrogations is published by Schilt.