Is it possible to change the world through photography? I think it is, because it changes the way we see the world.
I practice a “street photography” of my own kind. On the one hand I try to never lie, which means never manipulating a scene by moving something or changing the lighting. I never even touch the things I take photographs of. On the other hand I try to remove as much of the scene’s banality, every-day materiality as possible, in order to transport it into a new world – that of the picture itself. By doing this one discovers the beauty and the horror of the world even in the smallest pile of dirt. In the end it is about telling a dramatic story through patterns of light and dark, without an event ever taking place.
I observe reality, but in the end I need the picture; not to rediscover the things that I shot, but to discover what I only suspected while shooting. In this sense my pictures are, for me, devices of insight – they do not reproduce what is visible but actually make visible for the first time.
A constant observation made about all photographers working artistically is their interest in apparent trivialities. For me there is nothing more important than these trivialities. They cannot be constructed, they must be found. If photography is only able to do one thing, then it is to subvert: not to look in the direction everybody points.
The Desiderata series was the first publication to showcase portions of the photos I took during the last 30 years. Each booklet has a particular focus, let it be a certain mood (Magico) or a certain time (Von Ferne), a funny thematic connection (Technik), or a special subject (Asphalt).
In my recent publication, Replies, the images are structured like a series of small conversations, as a circle of friends might have when sat around a dining table. The first one says something, the next one picks up the theme, then the next one chips in, until everybody has said something or just quietly listened. Then there is a moment of contemplation before a new subject is picked up.
Aphasia is a neurological defect that causes sufferers to not be able to understand the lexical meaning of language although the emontional content is not affected.
From gestures and tone of voice they can surmise the truth of statements without understanding why.
In my photographic work I have always been interested in the discrepancy between the objective, real meaning of objects and their visual appearance. Since I started using a digital pinhole camera, I have found a way to further simplify their appearance to make this tension even more evident.
I try not to say: “that’s how things are”, but rather “this is a picture that was caused by something, that for a short moment looked as though it reminded me of something”.
Why I am doing this? - For thirty years I have been taking photographs in order to answer this question. I used to think that it was important to show reality in my photographs. But as time goes on I’m beginning to realize that it’s about creating images more interesting than the things being photographed. But this is not yet the final word.
I am not forcing pictures. I am a collector, not a hunter. I have respect for reality. I try not to lie.
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