Neal Gruer - Same Difference / Aceeași Diferență
-If everything is simultaneously false and true,
How is it sure that I am not You?
Same Difference / Aceeași Diferență is a new photobook featuring writings in English with Romanian translations by Bucharest-based, Scottish-Ghanaian photographer and writer, Neal Gruer.
The images were taken in 2018 on a single day in Bucharest, when two large groups of people from completely different ends of the social, political and ideological spectra gathered in close proximity for two completely different reasons – Pride march and a rally in support of the populist Romanian government.
While the two gatherings did not interact on the day, subsequent political events in Romania (culminating in a referendum to change the constitutional definition of marriage to apply only to straight couples) revealed that even when social issues appear independent of one another, they, and the people behind them, remain inextricably connected.
Despite the apparent and assumed differences between the two groups, by directly comparing the images from both events, Same Difference / Aceeași Diferență seeks to challenge readers on their perspectives; to put aside superficial observations in favour of deeper questions that ask, what is “difference”, “same”, “belief” and “truth”? In the current context of social polarisation, media “echo chambers” and cursory reactions to online imagery, the book offers a respite from the narrow, protected perspectives we are typically fed, and highlights how those closeted viewpoints often miss the complexity and intrigue that lie beneath one’s initial reactions.
“My initial intention was simply to photograph the two events. But as I reflected on the pictures and followed the news over the next several months, I felt that what I had captured revealed a lot about the current state of social and political polarisation in Romania, Europe and elsewhere in the world. My hope is that the book confronts people with questions of how they represent themselves and how they regard those who hold different views to their own.”