Unperson

Winston Smith works in The Ministry of Truth, part of his job is altering back copies of The Times to make sure Big Brother’s predictions appear to be accurate and erasing from the public record the existence of certain people. An unperson is a person who has been “vaporised”; who has not only been killed by the state, but effectively erased from existence. Such a person would be written out of existing books, photographs, and articles so that no trace of their existence could be found in the historical record. The idea being that such a person would be forgotten completely (for it would be impossible to provide evidence of their existence). The USSR under Stalin also provided real-world examples of unpersons in its treatment of Leon Trotsky (who the character Goldstein is largely based on) and other members of the Communist party who became politically inconvenient. This was the subject of David King’s book, ‘The Commissar Vanishes: 
The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia’ which showed how photographs were altered to remove individuals.

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About daviddunnico

Aye up – I'm a documentary photographer from Manchester in the UK. This is an occasional blog all about me, me, me. Well actually it's just about my photography.

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