Finding a (New) Style:
Introduction to Places 11 and Faces 1+2
When you have come a certain way, at a certain point will come something like a re-orientation, a focusing on new things, a re-evaluating old stuff and incorporating new contexts, maybe drawing from the old and re-interpreting some of that in a new way. When you have come a certain way trying to find your way, the above mentioned procedure will certainly be much more necessary - for everything you do can lead to a change in direction. When everything still is new, or the things done not quite perfect, there's quite some chance that any new input will change not only the weight but also the quality of the entire load into something comepletely else.
Some points are crucial, others are just a going along the lines already set. There may also be drastic changes from the outside. In photography, this can mean a new camera, and a new place. New places are important as they can provide new input, they can be dangerous as the new input may very well make you not more creative but more playful. You start doing unnecessary things, concentrating on capturing simple motifs and not assessing each shot for its artistic potential. It's like it is with everything new. There are dangers and chances everywhere.
Photographing places has been one of the things I've been doing for the longest time, it's only exceeded by landscape. Thus a redefinition became necessary. I already did that throughout the first part of this year, in taking old photographs from way back and re-ordering them under new aspects into new contexts and under a more or less artistic pretext. This happened with the first three entries into Voyages and the first six of Places. All of these have been old photographs, taken under much different premises mostly. My first attempts to actually undertake photography have been made in Elements, but that group was focused more on the single object at hand, not at a larger scope, and it was rarely townscapes. Thus I tried to draw from my early shots and my recent first steps in photography and continued with architectural photographs, the result being Places 7: Dresden, and - less architecture, more landscape - 8: Kaprun. I started more playful attempts at a redefinition with 9: Berlin and 10: Potsdam which I believe to be successful in a way, but still following old tracks mostly.
Places 11: Vienna had to be something completely different, partly. Embedded into the larger context of Voyages 4, Vienna was to be singled out because of thematic reasons, as well as Moments 4 and 5. Faces 1 and 2 then could actually be direct parts of the Vienna series, but were made into extra series for two reasons: Firstly, to serve as a more direct thematic guidance for what was to come, and secondly, for matters of size and context. Thus all of this material would actually belong together, and it should be seen as a whole, and also as a guiding light for things to come.
New aspects to be included into the Vienna series were the following: Black and White photography, photographing persons, and - less definitely - an attempt at a more askew look on things while resuming some previously introduced elements: streetlights (first conscious use in Places 7: Dresden) and traffic lights (both in conjunction with streetlights and as a continuation of Elements 6: Spirit). A new, digital camera also allowed me to take more shots from below, thus creating different angles and perspectives, more looking from below to above. A new element, especially in the context of Voyages 4, is a thematic one: Globalization and/or Americanization, at the example of the war between Coca and Pepsi.
The introduction of B/W photographs came for various reasons: Firstly, my camera now allowed me to play with various formats without switching film (disliking the option to just take the color out with the computer), secondly, B/W usually can express things differently than color, some distraction is lost, the look is more artificial, details become more apparent. And thirdly, you can play between color and B/W, as I did in these series.
The entire object of this re-orientation is to de- and re-fine a style and sort of express my utterly serious interest in artistic photography.
As a side track, the last quarter of the Vienna pictures I shot under rather extreme conditions. I had the luck of finding a perfectly grey sky, but therefore I had to endure rain pouring down the entire day, the only day of the entire trip throughout Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. I was soaking wet, trying to protect my camera against the rain which at a certain point started collecting at the front of my basecap and falling down from there. Luckily, there were trees, public transport stations or other ways to find a dry place to shoot, though once you're wet, you're wet. There's some finality to it. Which may be a good thing, it simply can't get any worse. The things we do for art...
August 27th, 2001