Thoughts about my way of taking photos
In our days with all the mobile phones that have a camera included and an internet flatrate, so you can directly share your snapshots on social media, in such times, that I do not reject either, that I use, that I experience, in those times my wish for slowing down, my wish for mistakes, my wish for de-fastening has its place. For sure I can gain certain effects also digitally by using a filter or Photoshop, but that is not the point. I want to think about the camera and the film in relation on what I am doing, make decisions beforehand and do not manipulate afterwards. And I want to be able to fail.I want the chance that things do not work out that way or that chance (or if you want fortune) play a role. If e.g. a medium format film is not completely attached to the spool and you get light leaks (which you can of course also produce deliberately) or if a multiple exposure is overexposed – so be it. It is a pity, but part of the process, part of my way of working.
The image (and I am talking about photographs) has a different esthetic, a different quality if it was taken analog. And I want to mention that I hardly shoot digitally (as an artist), but that everybody may use digital photography of course.
For sure the time, the slowness I work with, the delays are sometimes exhausting and costing lots of energy (it can take months before a picture is ready and went through the entire process of shooting, developing and scanning) as on every productive shooting there is lots of work at the computer to scan the negatives. We are talking about one to six hours per film and every development job for my lab contains at least 20 films. That is quite something. My archive that in big parts (over 65000 photos) is online on Lomography is frozen life time. It resembles weeks that I spent sitting behind the computer, but also is a sort of photo diary showing my life. So it (the archive) shows places, people and things that caught my eye since 2005. Everything before that time is not digitalized yet. But that are also several thousands of photographs. Out of many snapshots grow parallel directed photographs: portraits, elf portraits (sometimes with costumes), multiple exposures (up to HQME, High Quantity Multiple Exposures) or pinhole photographs that are due to their process no snapshots, put slowing you down, that are a sort of meditation, stop your all day life to freeze time in a compressed form.
That this capturing and so photography per se is an act of egoism, that does not only take place to capture an object on film but also to testify that I, the photographer, existed (or is existing) is obvious. Self portraits double that egocentric point of view, as subject and object are identical. Also a self portrait about staging yourself, it is about creating a (Ab)Bild (copy and photograph, image, picture) from yourself, that also resembles a feeling, the soul/spirit, an idea, a quality, an opinion… and saying so to the viewer. “Look at me”, the photo shouts, “I am this and that!” or meaning the contrary by using exaggerations.
Another element of my photography is rhythm. Rhythm comes from repetition. Repetition is going to the same places over and over again (that then look the same or change on the pictures) or a person changing in the cause of time (you could call it “life”) but also in rhythmical repetitions within one photograph. There are also some differentiations: A photo can be a multiple exposure where the camera is turned to gain a geometrical-rhythmical effect, the Advance Technique, where repetitions come during a long time exposure while advancing the film or HQME, that layers produce seemingly blurry photographs that do include repeating lines within.
I already mentioned how egoistic photography is. But it is also subjective. I as photographer choose, I determine what you can see. During my work on the HQME and here mostly in the 1to12 series I also ask myself the question of trueness of photography. In the beginnings of photography it was obvious that what you could see on a photo really existed. Photography was evidence, photography was indexical. During history but mostly due to digital editing photo programs, a photo is no longer indexical. Maybe the nostalgic believe in showing something real is the motor to still use analog material. But back to the question of truth. In my series 1to12 I show twelve photos in three rows à four photos next to each other showing the same place. First look says that they are the same, but if you look longer and closer you can see little differences as the twelve photographs are far away from being the same. Photo 1 contains one exposure (layer), photo 2 two, 3 three and so on until the end of a medium format film which is 12 – so twelve exposures (layers) on the last photo. That also means that the first photograph has a longer exposure time at once that the other images where the exposure time is split.
———— → —— —— → —– —- —- → […] → – – – – – – – – – – – –
A picture containing twelve layers has to be exposed differently than a single exposure. This layering happens inside the camera, so while taking the photo and not afterwards. But which of the twelve photos is now “true”/”real”? The single exposure or twelve? And are you allowed to say “true” nowadays at all?
I just want to continue working analog and showing my point of view.