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Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin



It´s my birthday today.
I was just dreaming of winning the lottery.
Same as everyone else.


Jennifer Van Der Heever

and the above text by
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin



I don´t especially care for Adam Broomberg´s & Oliver Chanarin´s visual language.
Very well composed and framed, precise and well observed,
their images, in a way, are boringly perfect.

Adam Broomberg´s & Oliver Chanarin´s photographs
are like high standard international hotel rooms.
Impersonal and lacking individuality, very well designed,
but I never will feel at home in them.
A little pension room someplace, sometime,
with used up furniture
and a bush of roses in front of the window would do more for me.

But these photographs never were meant to be separated
from the words that come along with them.
Well written, informative texts, not a word too much,
precise as the photographs they belong to, absolutely up to the point.
Not poetic at all, but nevertheless very touching,
sometimes with an undertone of a bit of dry humor.

One could say, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin achieved exactly
what they were going for: they show up an alternative and better way for photojournalism.
There are no sensations to see here, nor all too obvious sordidness.
We are not shown any passive victims but subjects who are asked to speak for themselves,
and they do.

In photojournalism far too often people are reduced to their status as victims.
But they are more than that.
They are people with a history, with dreams and plans, a mind and a soul of their own.

But in the photojournalistic image we are looking most of the time
into faces of people captured in a moment of some catastrophe,
rendered defenseless by what is happening to them,
rendered to mere objects by the photographer.

Looking at Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin work here,
I enjoy the irritating experience how inadequate photography is to convey information.

A guy from outer space wearing strange pink shoes,
a lady who is declared to be a man,
a typical photography of a staircase,
but this one is different, it´s a killer staircase.
A girl telling her tale from living in a golden cage,
a man with a tin box explains how he has become what he is.

An elderly lady turns out to be a serial killer,
a bit of short tempered, we read,
and teens talking about racial segregation that is still existing in their minds.

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin project is more
than a reportage from South Africa,
it is also a project about the limitations of photography.

If you are looking for information besides the obvious,
don´t look at photographs.

Photographs are debris spilled to the banks of the river we call time.
Photographs are exercises in form,
attempting to create beauty.
And, this might be their most important function;
they serve as a medium for our introspection.

Looking outside, going inward.