Between 1995 and 1997 the French photographer Luc Delahaye conducted a rather peculiar project. While travelling with a concealed camera on the Paris metro, he began making hundreds of black-and-white portraits of unsuspecting passengers. Eighty of these were then published together as L’Autre (1999). A novel contribution to debates surrounding the visual representation of alterity, Delahaye’s surreptitious photography of strangers raises several legal and ethical issues. Viewers may question, for instance, who qualifies as “other” in his photography and what right, if any, a photographer has to take such photographs of others. They might also wonder whether alterity can be captured on camera at all. The metro passengers whose portraits were published are, visibly, ethnically diverse and the way their images appear can be read as a ...
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