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.


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s