Words.


I am trying to grasp life through my work.
I am trying to find out about inner realities.
I am questioning what we are and how we live.

Zoltán Jókay



Facade.
toscanization

[layout][layout_group][half_width]I never ceased to wonder about the ugliness of our urban landscapes.
The everyday architecture that surrounds me is nothing but helplessly ugly.
The suburb I live in is all about money, none about architecture. We live in the era of “toscanization”, the single homes of the well to do middle class are attributed with the flair of Italian mansions, but achieve nothing but the phony look of Barbie dollhouses. Even the expensive turns cheap.[/half_width][half_width][/half_width][/layout_group][/layout]



Sprengel plakat mit rand

 

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exhibition poster
design by
Jan Weig

This interview with me was led by
Gianpaolo Arena somewhen in 2012.
It was published in Landscape Stories.

Looking back at this interview and the events of the last days,
I experience a deep feeling of gratitude for all the help and sympathy I have received and still do receive.

 

“Fragments of Memories”

LS: How important was it for your research to foster further cultural and aesthetic imagery through literature, art and music…? To what extent are still reality and life the most extraordinary sensorial experience?

ZJ: I was very lonely as a child and throughout my youth. Art and literature were my main companions. I can´t tie my photography to any work of art or literature that I loved or love now. My ties are emotional ones; they are rooted in my childhood and still form my work.

LS: Are there any photographers, movements or bodies of work that have influenced or inspired you? How much were “New Objectivity” movement or the lesson learnt from August Sander (Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts/People of the Twentieth Century) and Diane Arbus a source of inspiration for you when you started to search for your photographic style?

ZJ: Though I admired work of August Sander and Diane Arbus, as I admired the work of Winogrand, Friedlander and Goldin, these photographers were photographic masters and I never felt I could follow them in any way. The concept of “New Objectivity” never even reached my mind. My photographic development was formed by a deeply rooted, barely reflected set of “likes” and “dislikes”. I studied in Essen “Kommunikationsdesign”, and most of what was produced here I heavily disliked. I disliked any photographic language that was not bearing the mark of it´s author. I disliked any slick form without further deeper meaning. And I was very frustrated with my photography. A fellow student showed me work by Paul Graham, William Eggleston, Peter Frazer, Michael Schmidt and other contemporary photographers. This was the visual universe I was unknowingly looking for. There was an incident that also impressed me a lot: an university assistant was printing the photographs his father had taken. His father had been an amateur photographer and I couldn´t think but that this guy was doing better than any of us trying to become professionals.

LS: Do you have a method of working which you follow for each series, or does it vary for each different project? Please explain us the themes in your artwork and your working process.

ZJ: My work was for a long time basically the fight to overcome my shyness. For weeks and months I was walking around the streets not daring to approach the people I wanted to photograph. Only when the emotional impact of what I saw was big enough I made a step forward. While working on my diploma I encountered Roland Barthes “Camera Lucida”. I felt that the “punctum” he was talking about was the same “punctum” that hit me when I was looking for images, pushing me to establish contact and to photograph. In these rare moments I reacted instinctively to an emotion that connected me to my past. As soon as I understood what was happening to me, I realized that I had to deal with my childhood memories. With “remembering” I’m actually approaching to my childhood, and my visual language becomes reminiscent of the past, the clothing and the colors, and my protagonists, everything looked like coming from times gone by. All my projects reflect my attempts to come to grips with life, trying to understand human existence, trying to understand myself. After having published my monograph I wanted to shed my photographic identity. I just couldn´t imagine to go on like this until the rest of my life. I started with a whole array of projects over the next years, all of them failed to meet my expectations. Meanwhile, for a living, I had begun to work with people, first as an unskilled social-worker in a low income quarter and then, after my job has ben cut as dispensable, I got an employment in a home for the elderly, caring for those suffering from dementia. I started to photograph the people I got to know in the quarter; subsequently I also began photographing seniors I care for at the home.

LS: How deeply are you influenced by the surroundings and places in which you grew up? To what extent is your childhood imagery still present in your photographs?

ZJ: I already mentioned that my childhood experiences formed how I relate to the world, it formed my way of life and all of this is reflected by my photography. “Remembering” was visually influenced by the colors and spaces I learned to love during the summer holidays I spent with my grandparents in Hungary.

LS: Looking at your latest and ongoing project ‘Mrs Raab wants to go home’… evokes a feeling of comprehension, an intimate space for memory, experience, contemplation, meditation, thoughts… Does this interpretation come close to your intentions going into this project? Could you explain about it?

ZJ: I never think in these terms about my work.
In the quarter I was confronted with helplessness, poverty, affliction, sadness and the uttermost loneliness. Here I understood that parts of my childhood traumata, in essence, I shared with a lot of people. That helped.
Moving to a home for elderly you loose even the last remains of the life you have lived. Your autarky has gone; you are depending on the help of people that are organized by shifts. Both my job in the settlement as working in the home for elderly people are important parts of my life. What I have experienced there and I am still experiencing now almost on a daily basis has impressed me deeply.

LS: Did you start this project with the idea of making a book? Could you tell us something more about the creation of the book?

ZJ: I didn´t start this project with a book in mind. I never know in advance if I will produce something worthwhile to print.
I started to combine my images with words when I was preparing for a portfolio competition. I wished to show my work without having to explain it. While searching for words I realized that I could add an other layer of meaning to my images with a text written out. Later on, for an exhibition, I had to transfer my portfolio to the wall. I was forced to find a new way to present my texts alongside the photographs. I wanted images and words to be read on their own, but still relating to each other. Now they are framed separately, and the words are printed out on color plates that refer to the colors of the photographs they belong to.
“Mrs Raab wants to go home” evolved step by step. At the outset there was no master plan. So if you ask me about my working method, it´s nothing but trial and error, working and learning. This happens listening to an inner voice, and it is an attempt to understand what is happening and which direction to go.

LS: What’s the ideal way to look at your work (book, exhibition…)?

ZJ: An exhibition is like a live concert. To visit an exhibition, to see the real prints, to move from image to image, and to share this experience with other people can have a bigger impact than looking at a book. On the other hand: I love books. I can touch them, open them, I can carry them home, and I can look at them again and again. I have the time to analyze what I see. A book is there to stay.

LS: What’s in store for you in 2012, photographically or otherwise?

ZJ: I do not know.
I would love to start working on a new project, but I am not through with this one. I am frustrated by my limitations. I want to say more than I am able to express.

 

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mrs-raab-wants-to-go-home
 

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Where is the art in my art?
(Work in progress)

I had been invited to hold a lecture at a German Academy of Fine Arts to introduce my work. The lecture was part of an job application regarding a tenure as a teacher for photography.

The main questions after my lecture were: Yes my photographs are beautiful, but where is their surplus value beyond that? To translate this question: where is the art in my art?

The second question was: do I really intend to teach photography? The job description was: Professur für Fotografie.To reduce the absurdity of this question I have to translate again: do you really want to send your students out into the wild to take photographs?

Teaching photography is not about sending students anywhere. Teaching photography is about helping students to discover the traces their “self” has already left behind in their visual work. Teaching photography means: to assist students on their road to find out about their way of working. Teaching photography means: to assist the students to find a language of their own and to help them to discover the topics they want to deal with.

I simply wasn´t prepared to answer this kind of questions. I knew the second after I have left the room, that my invitations had been a strange kind of misunderstanding.

The Academy is settled far away from any urban life, it is surrounded by homes of the well to do. This is mirroring the background of my questioners. In their minds art is fine art. My work referring heavily to reality and to the “conditio humana” is just too photographic in their eyes, hence it is no art.

This thinking is simply part of the art world as I have got to know it. As long photography doesn’t mimic the strategies common in the art world, it won´t be accepted as art. That´s the way the cookie crumbles.

The dOCUMENTA 13 presented artists, whose concern was to resist society as it is or to look for alternatives. Though I can become very enthusiastic about art for the art´s sake, my troubled life when I was young and now the demands on me to make a living led me to an never ending confrontation with reality.

One of the remarks regarding my work was that I am focusing on deprived areas. (sozialen Brennpunkten) This was not meant positively. What a shame.

I also was asked was if I define myself as documentary photographer. It´s obvious that it was meant as a no-no. Anyway, the answer should be obvious to anybody not wearing blindfolders.

I never intended to become an artist, and I have no need to run around with this label. What I am trying to do is grasp life through my work. My topic are inner realities. My topic is what we are and how we live.

Though I love art, and it is an important part of my life, its just a part of it. Working as an artist is a great occupation. But there is more to life than art. There is joy and pain, there is the everyday, and there are people whose profession is to care for other people.

Don´t forget the people.


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Osterhof

 

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An incident.

Around six weeks ago, Elisabeth Osterhof was hospitalized.
She had to leave her husband Franz Osterhof behind.
The two of them had shared a flat located on the fifth floor of a senior home.

Elisabeth´s husband Franz is a big, friendly guy, never passing anybody without a joke.
Franz was a carpenter. He hands are really huge. One if his finger is maimed, as it is mostly the case with carpenters.
When Franz met Anna, way back, many many years ago, she had worked as a children’s nurse.
Then she gave birth to Hans, who would eventually die in his forties in a car accident.

Franz Osterhof is suffering from dementia. But in reality this doesn’t say a lot about him.
Yes, sometimes he has this utterly tired look of a person lost in a nowhere land.
And yes, now he was quite at at loss without his wife.

But when I assisted him in calling her, he found loving and tender words for her.
She repeatedly asked him to visit her,
becoming more and more disappointed with him.

She seemed to have forgotten that her husband had turned into a helpless old man.

The last time I heard the two of them talking, she reproached him of not showing her his love,
and I realized that this was a hidden disappointment of her,
accumulated through their long years of marriage, now surfacing through her weakness and need.

All these weeks I tried to get somebody take him to the hospital.
I was strictly forbidden to go along with Franz, /it would have taken too much time/
but I was promised that there would be a solution. Finally, when they managed him to get him to his wife,
an overstrained voluntary helper accompanied him, and Hermann Osterhof didn´t get the loving support he would have needed.
By then, I think something was gone in the soul of Elisabeth Osterhof.

The day after this final visit, Elisabeth was brought back from the hospital to the senior home
and died in the course of the same night.

A few days later Elisabeth was buried.
Franz, all dressed up for the funeral, waited for hours but never was picked up.
It is said that there had been a misunderstanding. It is like that: Franz had missed the funeral of his beloved wife.

Still the same day, Franz Osterhof had to leave the apartment
he had shared with his wife for the last two years.
He was moved to a room already inhabited by another old man suffering from dementia.

This day I kept sticking around Franz.
He needed company more than ever,
and I was afraid that all the important memorabilia
so dear to this old man and his wife would be disposed of.

The photo albums: Franz Osterhof as a kid, Franz Osterhof with his self built airplanes,
Franz Osterhof as a pilot, Franz Osterhof with his bride in front of the church.

And then the travel logs: Franz and Anna Osterhof had made long trips throughout Europe with a VW Bus,
up until Sweden, and Franz had written down lovingly what they encountered on their trips,
and never forgot to mention how many kilometers they made any given day.
During the days of his wife’s absence I repeatedly found Franz Osterhof reading these notebooks.

Now we went down to Franz new home,
a room with two hospital beds, two cupboards, a table and two chairs.
We took along the albums and the notebooks;
his clothing was already neatly stored in one of the two cupboards.
German senior homes are well organized in some matters.

The rest of the furniture and the bits and pieces he had shared with his wife
disappeared now from Franz Osterhof´s life, as his wife had disappeared from one moment to another.

In the evening, I looked through the lit up window of Franz Osterhof new dwelling.
I saw his big body moving to one of the cupboards, and then, he went over to the bed of his new roommate and I saw him bending down;
obviously busily talking to the man he now was to share a room with.

A short week later Franz Osterhof had realized that it was of now use to talk to his roommate:
you had to yell at him, otherwise he didn´t hear a word.

We sat down at the small table, and Franz Osterhof pushed over a pair of glasses to me.
These are the glasses of my wife, he said, and he asked me: is she dead now?
And then he said repeatedly: Mein Gott, na.

Jesus. Oh Jesus.

Now Franz Osterhofs roommate took his urine bottle deposited besides his bed.
Then Franz Osterhofs roommate took his penis, he was naked down there,
and then Franz Osterhof said, and friendliness never left his face, he said,

Jesus, oh Jesus.

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Jókay Juli 2012

image by
Zoltán Jókay
2012


Mr Schmidt and Mr Engel.

Most of the time Mr Schmidt was looking at the wall opposite to his bed
because, for some reason or an other, he was left in his bed most of the days.

Must be months and years Mr Schmidt looking at this whitewashed wall.

He needed help when eating. Often he coughed very hard,
the food kept going the wrong way.

Mr Engel used to ask: “He” and then he always pointed out to Mr Schmidt
“he can’t eat by himself anymore?”
/ I just wanted him to keep his mouth shut./

And Mr Engel still could eat by himself.
But during his last weeks he felt less and less like doing it.

The day he died, I found a blue garbage bag, containing his clothes,
in the cellar.

 

Mr Smith-3
Mr Schmidt went away.

Mr Schmidt has been absent.
You could call him being absent minded.

I don´t know where he was,
when being absent.

I have seen him sad.
I have seen him mad.
I have seen him frustrated.

For a time he had tried hard to eat on his own.
Then he quit. It was too hard on him.

Mr Schmidt has been absent.
Mr Schmidt has spent a few days in the hospital.

The drainage to his urine-bag has been leaking for a while.

Today a black framed notice reporting his death
was hanging amidst of four other death notices.
Only very recent ones.



Jókay Juli 2012-3



Dr Auberger.

Dr Auberger is very old. I don´t know, how old she is.
All I know is, that she is suffering from dementia.

Since one week she doesn´t speak anymore,
and she doesn´t get up anymore.
She is hardly eating and drinking.

I guess Dr Auberger is going to die.
On the coffee-table, an old book with poems by Heinrich Heine.
It´s the only book in this last refuge of the old lady.

I don´t know what to do for her.
She is absent. I pick up this worn out volume,
and start reading out loud.

I can´t believe the beauty and the virtuosity of what I am reading.
I don´t know if I am reaching her.
I am leaving after a while.

She lifting her hand,
as to say goodbye.

An other day, I visited her again.
The curtains of her room were half closed,
I hardly could see the old lady lying in her bed.

It was a hot day,
maybe this was the reason she wasn’t´t covered by her bedspread.
She was only wearing a light nightgown.
It was was kind of embarrassing for me to see her that way.
I went close to her bedside.
Mrs. Dr. Auberger didn´t say a word.
She started to unbutton my skirt.
At least she tried.
Her fingers neither had the strength nor the coordination to succeed.
The demented old lady struggled to sit up.
She didn´t make it.
I held her head, she was turning her body,
bringing it in an embryonic position.

After a while I told her that I had to leave.
She took my right hand,
drew it to her mouth,
just to breathe a kiss on it.



no camera used
around 2010


Braille.

The world is as real as it can be.
Still, we only can approach it through a veil of subjectivity.
We only see what we have learned to see.

And we look outward, just to turn inward.
We are blind to what we see.
What we believe turns into reality.

I am fumbling my way. My eyes are wide open but fail to see.
I am looking out for a point of reference.

 






image by
Sibylle Fendt
from “Gärtners Reise”


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I want you to be.

Life tells many stories, but most of them remain unheard. / His hand on her hand, she feels his touch. And the journey begins, wearing a summer hat, stopping for short breaks, tomatoes on the table, sun falling on her face, small clouds up in the sky and above all the fresh air. / Everyday moments can be so trivial and yet
it is these moments that are the source of real happiness. And even if the ground you are standing on seems to be slipping away, and from one moment to the next it feels like everything has changed, even then you need to experience the occasional uplifting moment, however short it may be.

Falling Down and Rising Up Again – that is how Sibylle Fendt named one of her projects. And there are days, which are hard to stomach – days, when you really feel like it’s best just to remain in bed or stay put. But then all could be lost – or so we are made to believe. Sibylle Fendt takes pictures of people that are emotionally, mentally or physically damaged but are nevertheless willing to fight. They are fighting for their health and for an inner equilibrium.

To be ill means you are different. It means you are unable to function. Being ill often means you are seen as suffering from a defect. / And we, who remain able to function – however much we may be struggling – look away and try and avoid reading the writing on the wall. / But Sibylle Fendt manages to capture what it is we are trying to avoid. She makes us take a closer look and makes us realise that those suffering from illness are not as different as we may think.

Gärtners’ Voyage is not a report about the mental and physical decline of a woman suffering from dementia and it is not a report about the sometimes indescribable effort that goes into caring for a person who is increasingly loosing control of themselves and their bodily functions. / What we see is a man and a woman,
presumably a couple. We see the man mowing the lawn and see the woman standing by, looking somewhat incapable. We see the man hanging up washing and see him
getting the woman dressed. We see him doing her hair and notice that he is holding her like a child. / Something seems out of balance. But we can only presume so,
we do not know. Because photos do not offer extensive information, they are unable to shed light on the context and they cannot fully explain what is going on.
They simply depict a given moment. But sometimes they illustrate more than can be seen at first sight. That’s it – plain and simple, and yet it can be so much more complex. / Often however photos are accompanied by words. They change our perception of things and images.

The knowledge of Elke Gärtner’s disease is the key that opens Sibylle Fendt’s work to our wider understanding. / Looking shy and introverted, in an empty hall,
which is lit up but still quite dark and shady, a woman is gazing at the floor. It may not be cold in this room, but it looks as if she is shivering nonetheless and holding on to herself for reassurance. / Memories disappear, they vanish bit by bit. Places and streets be-come unfamiliar, as do objects and loved ones. Even the present starts becoming something that is unfamiliar. / Nothing is tangible, there is nothing to hold on to, everything seems dislocated. Life becomes an approximation and the gaping hole is filled with something that is known as fear. And this fear starts to spread and multiply./That is how it might feel, deep inside. And in situations like this it helps, if someone is there. /That woman is like a child now and is happy that someone is there. She senses that she is being touched. That is something that will last. It helps to deal with the disorientating and fear-ridden loneliness.

So often photographs depict the obvious misfortune of others by showing shocking images. And in pictures like that it is not ourselves we are looking at – we are not the starving body, we are not the people, who appear to be so different to ourselves. The stimulus is overpowering, the distance is too great, we avert our gaze without really being deeply moved by what we have seen. / Sibylle Fendt’s photos, if at all, only very cautiously depict the everyday hardship that life entails for people suffering from dementia and their relatives. / A plaster on a shinbone, a burn on a hand – they both hint at the dangers that Elke Gärtner is continuously surrounded by, because she is no longer able to take care of herself. / And so Lothar Gärtner takes responsibility for her, continuously,relentlessly, 24 hours a day, until – despite all his efforts – a mishap occurs that cannot be prevented. / And all the time it is clear that one of them is going to outlive the other. But time will pass until then.

And so the two Gärtners set out on their last journey together. Courageous indeed, but also upsetting. / Husband and mobile home become the last anchors of
stability in this woman’s life / He holds her tight. And long after she has lost the ability to speak, she writes down a simple sentence on a notepad. A note that is presumably addressed to him. The sentence is repeated three times:

I want you to be.

We rarely hear about the kind of love that is evident in these pictures. It is very well observed whilst avoiding sentimentality. It has an element of everyday love about it, but at the same time it is also something very special. And that is when we think, this is how things might be and this is real.

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Monalisen der Vorstädte

 

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Photograph by
Ute und Werner Mahler

Beauty is a term hard to deal with, because it is hard to pinpoint. There is natural beauty and there is man made beauty; there is beauty by biological instinct and beauty by subconscious agreements agreed on through society.

Though I usually prefer to avoid this topic, I have to admit that at my first encounter with these images, I was highly impressed by their beauty. The mastery of the basics, as there precise composition, the controlled use of natural light, a grey scale that correlates with the function of fore and background, and a very fine arrangement of the posture of the portrayed, seem to be obvious. But all of these qualities are secondary.

It is this silent intimacy that hits me with might when I look at these photographs.

A short video is to be found on the net. It shows how Ute and Werner Mahler were working on their project. Watching the video I realized, how consciously the title is set, and how consequently the two of them worked along a concept.

As Mona Lisa, the portrayed women are sitting on a chair, which makes them sit in a clearly defined, upright position. This must have looked quite absurd, in reality, somebody sitting in the nowhere surrounded by two photographers, cigarette to mouth, and the large format camera with a big black clothe to hide behind.

Ute and Werner Mahler were looking for something they had seen before.

I read by chance some highly disappointed comments relating to these images. Both photographs and the portrayed young women were declared as not being beautiful at all. There was also quite a bit of annoyance that the series was set in relation to Mona Lisa. Now we could talk about the poisonous concepts of beauty that are used as selling point in western societies. Now I could talk about big-lipped Julia Roberts, and starving models. But I won´t.

Is Mona Lisa beautiful?
And what about these young women?
It doesn´t really matter.

They, like the most of us do, live ordinary lives. They go to school, then pick up jobs, they work hard to earn little money, they rent small apartments somewhere in the nowhere, they marry and divorce, they get kids or they don´t, they die early or they become old.

They could be our daughters, sisters or our girlfriends.
Are they beautiful?
Yes they are.

Black and white, shades of grey. The beauty of the form opens our eyes to what is there to see: We see youth and we see vulnerability.
Something within us is touched, and for a moment we might realize, that at times, we too are beautiful.

 

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Diane Arbus` work is still very contemporary.
Her simple and rough images concentrate on basic emotions and conditions in life.
They were the first of their kind and still are unique.
Maybe their magic is too hard to copy.






image by
Judith Joy Ross

Michael Bodner,
1st grade
The protagonists of Judith Joy Ross are as everyday and as special as we all are.
They seem to open themselves for her and her camera,
showing us something we hardly ever get see: vulnerability.

No moment is more intimate than this point of softness.


image by
Jitka Hanzlova
Rokytnik,
1990-1994

Jitka Hanzlova was taking images in a small village,
she was taking images of the “simple life”.
Everyday landscapes, nothing spectacular,
but still beautiful.

Small house, summer and winter. Kids playing.
A place you could dream yourself being home,
instantly knowing there is no way back to a life that has gone,
if you ever have lived it.

Quiet images. Nothing complicated.
Not using journalistic, nor documentary language.
That was new that time.

Her Rokytnik images have the taste of childhood memories:
those wonderful hot days of summer,
completely absorbed in the games you played,
forgetting about yourself,
people around you, all familiar faces.
Feeling secure,
just faint hints
from a more complicated world of the grown ups.

Time has gone…




image by
August Sander

Bauernkinder, 1927
Farm children

August Sander book was one of the first ones I bought, back in 1980.
I didn´t know then, that I would be studying photography later on,
neither did I know that I would take up portrait photography myself.

August Sander was born in 1876 and died in the year of 1964.
I was four then.

For me, his images reach back in historical times,
but we still could have met.
He, then an old man, and me, a wee boy.

Every time I pick up this book,
I am amazed of the timeless quality of some of his images.

Yes, clothing and the settings are historical,
but the feel of his images transcends the time of their creation.
That is something you can´t make, you can´t intend to do.

I am not going to analyze his work,
put it into relation to time and history,
neither will I show up its influence on photography,
and I don´t want to talk about his intentions.

About all of this you´ll find enough information if you want to.

I wil just pick up some of his images,
not necessarily the typical ones,
but the ones, where the magic happens,
that captivates me again and again.

For two weeks, two images a day…
to slow down consumption,
to slow down this fleeting rapid look art is subjected too.

Five seconds for a photograph on behalf of the viewer,
a lifetimes effort on behalf of the photographer.
That´s the way it is.

Two kids, probably dead by now.
Maybe they died during a war that wasn´t even on the horizon then,
or they became old and feeble.
Something we don´t know and will not know.

But that´s an general asset of photography.

Frozen time,
part of the past,
time gone by now,
just a second.

Two kids,
in old fashioned clothing,
nothing to do about that,
its just what they wore that time,
that place.

The bigger one, a girl,
a ribbon in her hair.

Photographers,
go to the former countries of the Soviet Union,
there you will find it,
this ribbon,
and it´s nostalgic touch.

But its not nostalgia that makes this image special.

The landscape: homogenous dark backdrop
to two slightly tilted
white human figures,
as if just having descended
out of nowhere,
hardly touching ground,
not grounded yet,
insecure,
clinging together,
angels lost,
somwhere in time and space.






image by
Nils Orth

Recently I noticed,
while browsing through the net,
that I react instinctively to images,
where people,
unaccountably,
seem to look different,
than the rest of us.

Something is out of order here.
I couldn´t pinpoint my unease and my fascination
until I stumbled over the information that this face is a collage,
a composition put together with photoshop.

Thinking about it,
it might be the deviance from the norm,
that attracts me in these photographs.

Of course,
this could be nothing but the fascination
that make people going to fairs,
looking at dwarfs and giants,
looking at the abnorme,
to get a fright while being in safety.

Maybe it is just my ennui,
my thirst for something new,
while looking at photographs,
that made me stop at these two images.

It also could be,
that it was a certain feeling of tragedy and sadness that made me halt.

And what about August Sanders photograph?

The bride,
she almost could be called beautiful,
but she isn´t.

She looks retarded,
maybe due to the fact,
that she was moving her eyelids while being photographed,
resulting in a slightly unreal blur
that you wont detect on the screen of your computer.

Thus in both cases,
the technology to transfer reality into an image
is causing the disturbance.

While her groom,
openly looks into the camera,
(but he clearly wasn´t the person August Sander was interested in),
the bride seems to look inwards.

She is moving away,
to a place somewhere inside her.

As she might be thinking,
about that what has been,
and about that what might come,
I do the same.





“WERTSCHÄTZEND.”
Nowadays it isn´t politically correct to use the term “gypsy”
on Sinti or Roma.

ZIGEUNER,

in Hungarian:

CIGÀNY

is still used as an
ethnic slur.

Antisemitism
and bad treatment of the Sinti and Roma
are shockingly vivid
in Hungary.

So even today
respectful treatment
of the “other”
of minorities,
of immigrants,
or the respectful treatment
of those who are dependent
on social security,
is not self-evident.

I can´t know,
how I would have behaved
during the III. Reich.

Maybe I would have been killing Roma.
Or organizing the death of uncountable
Jews.

Much of our attitudes
and way of handling the world around us,
is the result of mere chance.
It depends on the circumstances
we are brought up.

But I have learned,
that there are always people,
mostly a small number compared to the majority,
who are acting differently,
than all the rest.

So, there is the possibility of choice.
And therefore there is also hope.

The german term “WERTSCHÄTZEND”
represents an idea that has become very dear to me.
Its used in the context of treating your fellow man
in an appreciative way.

August Sanders took a different choice
than most of the Germans
in those past dark years.

His photography
is all about,
seeing,
and leaving
people
as they are,
without being judgmental ,
respectfully,
with empathy.






image by
Larry Sultan,
The Valley
Patio, Bosque Drive, 2003
Literally,
nudity in photography is seldom this laid-back.

Naked women in magazines,
(the nude male body is hardly used to sell products),
are trying to present an image depicting perfection.

The template for all these photographs
is the well developed body of young women around twenty,
the reason for this is obvious.

Because even the bodies
of these perfect young female specimen are not perfect enough,
photography and photoshop
are doing the rest to create an image of perfect beauty.

The next step in this race for the immaculate
is surgery.
Reality is modelled after virtual reality.

Teen girls are starving themselves to death,
women are buying themselves big breasts,
or small ones,
they manipulate their lips,
their skin,
fat is cut away or added.

And all are left behind in frustration,
because naked,
in front of a mirror,
or even worse,
naked,
on a photograph,
we never look like
those virtual beauties.

And we get older,
if we don´t die
before becoming older,
we see the traces,
of aging,
traces that don´t fit in this world
of youthfulness.

And here this photograph
of a relaxed,
naked women,
with sagging,
beautiful breasts.

And here this photograph
about self-acceptance
and the natural beauty of the human body.

/You won´t ever see me naked./


Mr Smith-4



Mark-Cohen535

image by
Mark Cohen
1973 pear core and column foot

This is an image about nothing.
This image is nothing but an image,
putting up a relationship that just exists in the mind of Mark Cohen.

This is an image about a personal vision.

A boring picture about a boring everyday moment.
A drab picture, saying nothing.
Nothing you ever would make a trip for.

An image like a little poem
without pathos,
without a lot of meaning,
just like a sound in your ears.

 

 

 

 

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