Chili September, 1973 1st edition, published by De Bezige Bij (The Busy Bee), Amsterdam. 43 black and white illustrations, unpaginated, bound in ochre paper wrappers. 24.8 x 20.1cm (9 3/4 x 7 15/16in).
Literature: Parr, M. & Badger, G., The Photobook: A History (Volume I) (London: Phaidon, 2004), p.229
In his famously streamlined, no frills book, Koen Wessing captures the gritty aftermath of the toppling of President Salvador Allende of Chile in 1973. Allende had been democratically elected, but the United States deemed his socialist government a threat to American interests in South America. The effects of the revolt are still felt in Chile almost four decades later.
Wessing was at the scene almost immediately and, despite the complexities of taking photographs in such an unstable and violent environment, each image is a considered, technically impressive example of photoreportage. Here we see the unadulterated grief of the people and the rounding up of Allende's supporters into Santiago's National Stadium, where many were tortured and killed brutally and without trial. A two-page execution sequence forms the book's bloody climax.