Ahmed Mater, Magnetism, 2012

These two photographs by Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater were recently shown in the V&A’s free temporary exhibition 'Light from the Middle East: New Photography'. Concerning this piece, the museum said:

In the series ‘Magnetism’, what at first appear to be pilgrims circling the Ka’ba, the sacred building at the heart of the sanctuary at Mecca, are in fact iron filings spiralling around a cube-shaped magnet. Mater refers to the spiritual force that Muslim believers feel during Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. By creating photographs that recall well-known images on a dramatically different scale, Mater also questions the reliability of photography.