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The Blindest Man

Emily Graham

The Blindest Man is based on the real story of an unsolved treasure hunt, and is a reflection on the act of searching and what happens when you can't find the answers you are looking for. I'm interested in the notion of the treasure hunt as metaphor, and in turn, the search as a reflection of the photographic pursuit; the tensions between the promise of truth and the delivered partiality. Please find below further information on the work:

The Blindest Man explores the contradictions of a pursuit that has no answers and no ends. In 1993 an anonymous author buried a golden treasure, which has lain undiscovered in the landscape of France for more than twenty-five years. This unsolved mystery has obsessed treasure hunters ever since, and many continue to search, guided by a book of allusive clues that was originally released by the author when it was first buried. The author is now dead.

Although the puzzle was designed to be solved within a few years, a community fuelled by competition has developed around it. Rumour, misinformation and red herrings spread, confusing many individual routes of investigation.

In the making of the The Blindest Man, I joined in this pursuit, acting as treasure hunter looking for photographs as I followed other hunters’ failed searches across France. I am less interested in solving the puzzle than in various individual interpretations of the clues, the notion of treasure hunting itself, and where this leads those who seek definitive answers: the dreams, fantasies and obsessions of individual searchers. Guided by the hunters’ experiences, journeys, routes, encounters, misinformation, dead-ends and so on, I follow in their footsteps, fascinated by the precarious nature of pursuit and failure, and in turn, photography’s own slippery relationship to truth, searching, interpretation, fantasy and obsession.

The photographs were made in France between 2015 - 2019. The work consists of 47 original photographs, and an accompanying booklet of research and ephemera.

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