This month I will select some artists who work with photography. Most of them work in the field between the still and the moving. And what better way to show the link between Cinema and Photography than highlighting the sequencing in photobooks?
So let’s Start this ride with the soundtrack of my first photobook that started it all.
In the End it’s all about Love
From Amour to Voyeur; first Stop: Hans-Peter Feldmann.
This Dusseldorf based artist’s main activity has been collecting, organising and re-contextualising. His artist book ‘Voyeur’ is an ongoing project that already reached it’s 6th edition.
The book is a compact paperback printed in black and white.With found footage selected from a wide variety of sources: newspapers, movie stills, fashion photos, sports photos, advertising, science etc. By reducing them in size and eliminating their colour, the artist removed them from their orginal context and placed them in a collective inconography.
The only text in the book is on the last page, where Feldmann thanks “all the photographers whose pictures have been used for this work.”
If we, the voyeurs, start to read the book, the editing looks seemingly random at first . Altough the juxtapostions between the images are so well done that I assume they are placed deliberately. Like an emotional rollercoaster. I once gave it as a present to my friend and brilliant essay-filmmaker. He said the book read like a good film.
But the brilliance for me starts when reading another edition of the book. The same photographs are used but the spreads are in a different order. The idea of the image as a constant changing source of interpretation is a pure statement on editing.
Feldman’s editing, which eliminates captions and dates, releases photos from their functions and history, making them think about something from relationships between neighboring photographic images without any pulsation. This nonhierarchical view of Feldmann’s popular photo images supplied in the 20th century makes us realize how we are subjectively and unconsciously interpreting photos. (Charlotte Cotton “Contemporary Photography”)
The Collector. Tine Guns, coming up, 2017
Three weeks ago I rediscovered another book of Hans-Peter Feldmann thanks to my friend Bas. Das Kleine Möwenbuch.
“In the early 70’s I went with my girlfriend and my son on a 4 week vacation. I took 5 rolls of film with me to take some photographs. Back home, after the exposed films were developed, I found that I had taken pictures of almost nothing else but seagulls. There was though one picture of my girlfriend, at least one that showed one leg and one arm of her, and there were also two or three photos of my son. All the other pictures were of seagulls, as you can see in the book, which becomes now a late photo album of a vacation in Scotland.” Hans-Peter Feldmann.
Das kleine Möwenbuch. Hans–Peter Feldmann, 1975
It’s not the repetition of the seagulls why I love this book. It’s exactly the seemingly trivial pictures of Feldmann’s son that make it. The book wouldn’t have the feeling of a captured moment in space and time (like a vacation) without this pictures. With this pictures we feel the presence of the maker, who wanders off during a mountain walk, filming (photographing) the birds in the sky. But at a certain point the camera shifts, an image from above capturing the son, like the camera flies from the point of view of the birds towards the ground. It flies down and goes from bird eye to low angel and even frog eye. Ready to start of wandering off in the sky again…
“I am not interested in the high points of life. Only five minutes of every day are interesting. I want to show the rest, normal life.” Hans-Peter Feldmann