Possibly the most powerful erasure (and there is a whole sub-genre of erasure studies which I wrote about a while back. I do think it's fascinating) is in this image of 'Mrs Baqari'
Mrs Baqari had her picture taken at Hashen el-Madani's Studio Shehrazade in Saida, Lebanon. But it was against her husband's wishes. When he found out, he ran to the studio in fury and had the negatives defaced by scratching. Years later, after Mrs Baqari had burnt herself to death (the subtext being that she killed herself to escape the misery of being married to either an abusive husband or a religious fanatic - or both. Or perhaps she hadn't burnt herself.
The husband came back to the studio heartbroken. The only thing that could console him, that could help him remember his beloved wife who he had treated so badly (we presume) were the images that he had had destroyed years before.
It's an image of violence then, but also one filled with a complex emotional power. One of heartbreak, of jealousy, of guilt? We simply don't know - or should I say I simply don't know.
Here there is little emotion, just stone-cold misogyny that is addressed through the violence of these pen strokes.
Charbel Saad and Amak Mahmoodian will be talking about all this and much more on Saturday 5th May at the Arnolfini in Bristol in this brilliant symposium on the archive with speakers including Maja Daniels, Francesca Seravalle, Charbel Saad, Thomas Sauvin, Kensuke Koike, and Amak Mahmoodian.
It's a series of talks that looks both to the past but also to the future, seeing how archival works can be deconstructed, reconstructed and recontextualised with reference both to the past as well as the future.
Buy your tickets for ICVL's Activating the Archive here.