an endless tape without a beginning or end

“The editing process was difficult. I did not compile into a so-called montage that followed the narrative structure: introduction, development, twist, and conclusion. Instead, I tried to include as many photographs as possible like an endless tape without a beginning or end.”

— Takanashi Yutaka, from “The Struggle Between the Hunter and the Gatherer: A Year of ‘Tokyoites'”

Frankfurt, June 2016

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Manufacturing Memory

A photo creates the memory in the moment you first see it: It does not record how it was, it creates how it was. The past is manufactured in the moment you remember it.

 

Angkor Wat, December 2016

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Homes Are Really Evocative: Todd Hido

This is a really interesting talk Todd Hido gave last year on his work, where it comes from, who is heroes where and how he does it: I still wished that this American habit of sprinkling “kind of”, “sort of”, “like”, “basically”, “you know” all over their talks. Of course, it does not take away from the content, but it also does not add anything and leaving it out would probably bring the length down below the one-hour-mark. Excellent talk, anyways.

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Preparing Prints

Checking out paper and comparing prices, deciding on prices and where to print, ramping up to the upcoming exhibition “o.T.” at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin from 9.-13.March.

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Tainted Landscape

Choeung Ek, the site of a former orchard and mass grave of victims of the Khmer Rouge – killed between 1975 and 1979 – about 17 kilometres (11 mi) south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is the best-known of the sites known as The Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge regime executed over one million people between 1975 and 1979. Mass graves containing 8,895 bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of the dead were former political prisoners who were kept by the Khmer Rouge in their Tuol Sleng detention center.; Cambodia, December 2016

The landscape does not recover from this. Nature has lost its innocence. Every tree is tainted, the seas are polluted by tears and blood, the bones and teeth are implanted in the earth and every rain washes up new pain until we are tired of sorting them out and just leave them where they are.

The Series “Magic Tree” is one roll of film that was shot on location in Choeung Ek.

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Holy Trinity of Photography

The camera is made up of what we might think of as three distinct parts(mediums, even): the lens, the shutter and the light-sensitive surface. When theories privilege the lens it is usually in relation to the depiction of space and the conventions of realism determined by linear perspective and optics. Here we are in the realm of resemblance and iconicity, where the origins and the essence of photography are located in the /camera obscura/. When the shutter is invoked it is in relation to time and duration, and photography’s origins and essence are located in the desire for arrested vision. When the light-sensitive surface is invoked it is usually in relation to the question of contact and touch, locating origin and essence in the shadow or trace.

— David Campany, from A Handful of Dust

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Do!

Snap out of this funk I have been in for the past two months. I’ve been pondering Jörg Colberg’s Article “Now What?” for 2 months now. In the meantime, these discussions on what went wrong in Photoland and what we should do to communicate better, vanished rapidly in the rear-view mirror while America is galloping into fascism. All these discussions now feel pretty vain. Communicating is not the point.  We are all shell-shocked. Watching the News is like watching a car-crash. You know it is awful to watch and yet you cannot take your eyes off of it. We lust for blood and downfall.

There is not much you can do. If you’re into social awareness, then please, for heaven’s sake, go on. If not, then please don’t start now. There is no time to waste with educational approaches to photography. There is no way you can make a photo to change the world. If anything, the past weeks have shown that there is suddenly a “Us” and a “Them”, although we cannot really be sure that the demarcation lines of these wars have been drawn correctly and the fights we’re suddenly pushed into leads to anything else but tears and destruction. There is a sense of impending doom. And everything you say can be twisted, the ground beneath our feet is shifting and the heavens are toppling.

And Now What? Just go on. Nothing has changed.

 

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work — the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell — you are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work — so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working — then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to

DO

— Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse

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Myanmar: A Year After

The news is a foreign country for itself. They establish a sense of  “knowing what’s going on in the world” but they need to construct imaginary lands that only exist in the current discussion and instantly vanish when the spotlight of common interest moves on. When I stumbled upon this article in Quartz on the sobering up of Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar after the first year of getting into (some sort of) power, I tried to align the article with my own, personal view of Myanmar.  My overwhelming feeling, when I looked at the pictures I brought back from last year’s trip to Myanmar, was that of  opaqueness: You see, but you do not understand. Things are not what they seem, but the surfaces are blinding and overwhelm you.

Which either means I am not good at documentary photography, or the way I apprehend photography is not very fitting to deliver something about the political situation. I find the assumptions about the indexical qualities of photography highly dubious: A photograph always shows something that is actually there (or it cannot not show something) – but looking at these images, this does not seem to be the case…

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