Batniji’s pictures of the seaside look very ordinary. His beach is not a place of idle rest, nor of the hope of sexual adventure. But nor is it a place of work, as it has been for other photographers. It is simply that as a Palestinian, he was for much of his life banned from going there. If you look at his website (http://bit.ly/139icus) you will find that he writes in simple clear prose something of why the sea matters to him so very much, and what was at stake when it was taken from him. Do the pictures say this on their own, without his explanation? I don’t know. But I know that once you have read the explanation, you cannnot help but see that these pictures matter enormously. Getting the back story right is an important part of every other cultural activity. Should it still surprise us to be asked to get it right in photography?