It is actually strange the way the exhibition grew within me. The photos I initially marked for myself turned out not to be the same as the ones that popped up in my head a few days after the exhibition. Some images that initially left me unaffected continued their own development in my neuropaths having made their appearances later. Rationalisation drops dead here so I just have to come to terms with the fact that photos live within me independently of my will.
I did not really know what I had expected to see but initially I was a bit disappointed with such a huge number of editorial images and fashion portraits. There was an aesthetic lag in an abrupt jump from one genre to the other, so my wandering between the rows at the exhibition was like sampling food at a buffet. The most important part, digestion, took place later.
I was looking for something that represents the quintessence of photography as art, when you see that a photographer reached for something very important just with the mere composition. Inexplicable. Great ideas are all right but a good photo for me, like a good film, is not only about a story.
So, first to great ideas. Among portraits my eye caught the “Unselfies” project by Martin Baumgartner especially in the view of the fact that I have a similar project (in progress). In the era of the selfies one is constantly driven to look as nice as possible. Martin, on the contrary, presented himself as funny (or even ugly) as possible. A great, demanding and very positive project! (1)
Most of the projects I was drawn to displayed remarkable colours and in combination with a great composition they touched my aesthetic nerve having made me just stand there and absorb. Very often this refers to abstracted or semi-abstracted images. Like the photo of Livia Faden (2). I am also fond of shabby looking industrial surroundings, grim places, abandoned buildings, crumbling walls.
An interesting series by Stefan Ziegler (3a, b) depicted multiple colours of Cuba and its people. No doubt Cuba is a paradise for a photographer. Yet Stefan proved that to make a good photo it is not enough to be in the right place at the right time – one needs mastery, a developed observational skills and a brilliant sense of composition. I loved this particular photo (3a) because it extraordinary cheeky, fresh, unusual. When everyone goes for the three thirds all we see here is the back legs and the tail of a dog, a half of an old lady, and the empty space in between. Everything left behind the frame speaks to me.
The reportage on Refugees by Maurice Haas and Christian Grund left me with a good impression. I found the images not simply emotional due to the topic tackled – they are deeply poetic as photographs. They do exactly what a good photo should achieve – strike an emotional cord in the heart of the spectator not only due to the theme but also through formal representation. (4)
Other projects that kept on insistently appear in my head again and again was a really fantastic fashion series by Ellin Anderegg (5) and a conceptual project by Laurence Rasti’s on the hot topic “There are no homosexuals in Iran” (6).
Links to the photographer’s websites:
Martin Baumgartner, www.baumgartner-mart.in
Livia Faden, www.liviafaden.ch
Stefan Ziegler, www.stefanzieglerphotography.com
Ellin Anderegg, www.ellin.ch
Maurice Haas, www.mauricehaas.ch
Christian Grund, www.bmr-fotografen.ch
Laurence Rasti, www.laurencerasti.ch