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Photographer Jonas Bendiksen’s newest book, ”The Book of Veles” (Gost, 2021), raises some really tough questions. At its most basic level, it asks us to contemplate how we know when something is real or fake. But its most important question may be, do we even care? “The Book of Veles” is fascinating, beautiful, heartbreaking and, ultimately, terrifying.
The question of veracity that underpins the book is a multifaceted one. Bendiksen has worked in journalism his whole career. In many ways, his reputation is tied to the sense that the work he presents is anchored in reality.
In “Veles,” Bendiksen has used that reputation to turn all of the tables in the photojournalism world upside down and inside out. Bendiksen’s new book is a fabrication. It’s fake. Interestingly enough, this is fully intentional — to prove a point that has become incredibly urgent right now.