Participating in an editing challenge

A little time ago, but worth mentioning was my participation in the »Online Editing Challenge«. This event, organised by the DFA (»Deutsche Fotografische Akademie«/ »German Photographic Academy«) and presented live on Facebook (29 October 2020) was part of their online special »Fotodialoge« in cooperation with the »Darmstadt Days of Photography« (https://dtdf.de) and »dieMotive« (https://diemotive.de) (‘FOTODIALOGE | 26. – 31.10.20 – Deutsche Fotografische Akademie’ 2020).

The other players besides me were:

  • Ute Noll (https://unoartspace.com), she is a jury member of the »Merck-Prize for Photography« like me. Also, she owns a gallery in Stuttgart and works as the photo-editor of »DU«-magazine.
  • Wolfgang Zurborn from Cologne (http://www.wolfgangzurborn.de). He is a member of the DFA, a photographer and teacher. His speciality is editing photo books.

In the run-up, we received 100 images from Wolfgang Gscheidle’s (https://www.instagram.com/wolfgang_from_stuttgart) project »Auf der Suche nach der schwäbischen Kehrwoche« (»In search of the Swabian sweeping week«). The task was to produce an edit of the series and present and discuss this in the live event.

A short excursus for explanation: »Kehrwoche« describes the cleaning activities of pavement and staircases in a block of flats. The term is often cited as »highly characteristic of Swabian and Wuerttemberg« and »often seen as their pettifogging obsession with order« (‘Kehrwoche’ 2019).

Back to the edit: I started to sort the images into groups, something I do in every project. The next step was to select for me meaningful photos out of the hundred. With this selection, I started editing the first version. While doing this, I noticed that another order was possible and started the second edit.

Fig. 24: Rauschkolb 2020. Screenshot from editing Wolfgang Gscheidle’s images

In the last step, I arranged the images to a small book dummy in Adobe Indesign. With these two versions, I entered the challenge.

What I learned: It was great fun two be in an event with Ute and Wolfgang, both experienced in image selection and editing. There were some similarities, but also differences in our edits. I couldn’t say which is the best one, because each one is good in its way. Perhaps only the photographer, Wolfgang Gscheidle, can decide which one suits him and his project best. Also, working with someone else’s material, a person you don’t know and haven’t spoke with about his work is challenging. If this would be a job, my next step would be to talk about them with Wolfgang to find out what are his thoughts and would go on with editing for a new version. 

If you are interested: The DFA published the complete session, including the photographers and other DFA-members comments on YouTube. The whole session is in German only, but you can use the subtitle-function.

Part one (my presentation starts at 17:00): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3WqQv8Xwjw&feature=youtu.be

Part two with Wolfgang Gscheidles comments on our work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXtVvgF7YaY

References:

‘FOTODIALOGE | 26. – 31.10.20 – Deutsche Fotografische Akademie’. 2020. [online]. Available at: https://dfa.photography/post/fotodialoge [accessed 27 Nov 2020].

‘Kehrwoche’. 2019. Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kehrwoche&oldid=929367284 [accessed 27 Nov 2020].

List of Figures:

Figure 1 – 23: Wolfgang GSCHEIDLE. 2020. Images from »Auf der Suche nach der schwäbischen Kehrwoche«. From Marcel Rauschkolb. 2020. ‘Edit V2 for the DFA Online Editing Challenge’ [PDF].

Figure 24: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Lightroom-screenshot, editing Wolfgang Gscheidle’s images.

Aby Warburg – a recent discovery

I could call this module of my studies »the time of recent discoveries«; on one side photographically through the findings on my walks and in the archives. But also with the discovery of excellent readings and the people behind it.

Fig. 1: Unknown maker. ca. 1900. Aby Warburg

Aby Warburgs and his »Mnemosyne Bilderatlas« is one of these discoveries. Born in 1866 in Hamburg, he was a cultural scientist, and worked on Florentine art before the first world war. In professional circles, this work is considered very sound (Heil et al., Mnemmosyne Atlas, 2020).

But what I found much more exciting is his work on »The Atlas«. Warburg started working on it in 1924 and worked on it until he died in 1929.

But what is »The Atlas« and who is Mnemosyne?

Fig. 2: Wootton. 2016. View of the exhibition »Aby Warburg. Mnemosyne Bilderatlas« at ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe

Technically speaking, the Atlas is a collection of 63 panels (170×140 cm), covered with black fabric (Gregori 2020). Mounted on this are roundabout one thousand pictures. Warburg used photographs, but also illustrations from books, original graphics and newspaper clippings (Heil et al., Mnemosyne Atlas, 2020). For me, as a designer, this sounds what we call today a »mood board«. And the name? Mnemosyne is the Greek goddess of memory and the mother of the muses. Warburg chose her as the patron saint of his project (Heil et al., Mnemmosyne Atlas, 2020).

What did he want to achieve with this?

The Atlas’s nucleus was the history of style [»Stilgeschichte« in German]. It was born from the attempt to »pursue elementary forms of passion from the ancient world [»Die Antike«] to the Renaissance« (Erhard Schüttpelz in HKW – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2020, Episode 1, 13:00). The plan was to publish it as a book project with loose panels that could be rearranged (Roberto Ohrt in HKW – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2020, Episode 1, 03:18). It was a working tool, in which »pictures are contextualised with other images« (Axel Heil in HKW – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2020, Episode 1, 02:21). In a video about this work, it is said, that »each Atlas-board is to be understood as an independent image. As a picture, it has the same properties as the pictures Warburg examines« (Claudia Wedepohl in HKW – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2020, Episode 2, 17:00).

Fig. 3: Unknown maker. No date. Reconstruction of panel 32 (Summer / Fall 1929) with the originals from the Photographic Collection of the Warburg Institute, London

What caught my attention was one of Warburgs’ word pairings, the »Bilderfahrzeuge« [image vehicles]. He invented it in 1905 and expanded it in the 1920s to »automobile Bilderfahrzeuge«. Initially, the term described tapestries that were produced in Flanders and came to Florence. He saw the tapestries as a precursor to graphics because multiple copies could be made from one template. Later he expanded the term to all moveable mediums, like graphics, oil on wood, books, manuscripts (Heil et al., Terminology, 2020). The word creation is impressive not only because of its sound in German but also concerning photography and modern media. It would be interesting how Warburg would call the »Bilderfahrzeuge« in relation to the internet and social media. Are here the images are still the »Fahrzeuge« [vehicles], or the passengers in social media bus?

How does this connect to my work?

Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory. And my project is about memory, about history. About the traces of the past that trigger memory. Also, like Warburg, I am using images of different sources to construct my »composite landscapes«. In them, one picture is contextualised by another and vice versa. Perhaps I could sort them into the category of the »Bilderfahrzeuge«, because I am telling a story of a place through the combination of different images, like the tapestries from Flanders. Johannes von Müller, Coordinator of the Bilderfahrzeuge-project at the Warburg Institute, says about the anti-chaotic function of the artistic act: »With the creation of a picture, the human being already intervenes in his environment in an ordering manner. This can be found again and again in the Atlas.« (Johannes von Müller in HKW – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2020, Episode 2, 11:54). This is an exciting idea, and perhaps I am subconsciously trying to order the things I see on my walks and read in the books through composing a new image.

Aby Warburg’s work is complex and exciting at the same time. I think I will try to read more about this man and »The Atlas« in the future.

References:

GREGORI, Daniela. 2020. ‘Thinking with Pictures – Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas: Goethe-Institut’. [online]. Available at: https://www.goethe.de/en/kul/bku/20867100.html [accessed 23 Nov 2020]. 

HEIL, Axel, Margrit BREHM and Roberto OHRT. 2020. ‘Der Mnemosyne Bilderatlas | ZKM’. [online]. Available at: https://zkm.de/de/event/2016/09/aby-warburg-mnemosyne-bilderatlas/der-mnemosyne-bilderatlas [accessed 13 Nov 2020].

HKW – HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT. 2020. Befragung des Atlas – Episode 1 [Film]. Berlin. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZuYJhWDBoU [accessed 21 Nov 2020].

HKW – HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT. 2020. Befragung des Atlas – Episode 2 [Film]. Berlin. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ROmAhyUzgw&t=501s [accessed 21 Nov 2020].

HEIL, Axel, Margrit BREHM and Roberto OHRT. 2020. ‘Warburg’s Terminology | ZKM’. [online]. Available at: https://zkm.de/en/event/2016/09/aby-warburg-mnemosyne-bilderatlas/warburgs-terminology [accessed 23 Nov 2020].

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Unkwon maker. ca. 1900. Aby Warburg. Wikipedia [online image]. Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aby_Warburg [accessed 23 November 2020]

Figure 2: Tobias WOOTTON. 2016. View of the exhibition »Aby Warburg. Mnemosyne Bilderatlas« at ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe [online image]. From: Axel Heil, Margrit Brehm and Roberto Ohrt. 2020. ‘Der Mnemosyne Bilderatlas | ZKM’. [online]. Available at: https://zkm.de/de/event/2016/09/aby-warburg-mnemosyne-bilderatlas/der-mnemosyne-bilderatlas [accessed 13 Nov 2020].

Figure 3: Unknown maker. No date. Reconstruction of panel 32 (Summer / Fall 1929) with the originals from the Photographic Collection of the Warburg Institute, London [online image]. From: Axel Heil, Margrit Brehm and Roberto Ohrt. 2020. ‘Aby Warburg – Biographie | ZKM’. [online]. Available at: https://zkm.de/de/aby-warburg-biographie [accessed 13 Nov 2020].Available at: https://zkm.de/en/aby-warburg-biography [accessed 23 Nov 2020].

»You have to be obsessed with it« – Brian Griffin’s guest lecture

My thoughts about Brian Griffin’s lecture at Falmouth University, 11 November 2020.

Fig. 1: Depeche Mode 1982. A broken frame [album cover] Cover photography by Brian Griffin

When I think of British photographer Brian Griffin, I always have to think of Depeche Mode’s »A broken frame« and its iconic cover image. The album was released in 1982, and I still own my copy. The cover is simply amazing; the dramatic sky, the cornfield and the famous Friedrich-like »Rueckenfigur« of the woman with the sense.

In the lecture, he says, that he is a great fan of painting (»I spy«) and that Caspar David Friedrich inspired him a lot. When listening to him for me seemed that he has a connection to German culture in general. At the beginning of the lecture, he tells us that he was influenced by cinema, especially German expressionistic from the 1920s and 1930s. Asked by a peer student, if he prefers Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk, his answer is »Neu!«, the band founded by former Kraftwerk musicians Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger. The answer is not surprising, because many British musicians, like David Bowie or Joy Division/ New Order claim this band as a significant influence. But I digress, even if photographing bands and singers is a big part of Brian’s portfolio.

Fig. 2: Griffin 1970s. Photograph of a TV direction executive

What is the exciting part of lectures like this is the moment, when well-known photographers show not so much prominent (often commercial) work. Brian showed us a lot of images he did for business magazines at an early stage of his career. About them, he told us that »their offices felt for him like a theatre«. And they look like theatrical shots. Not the usual corporate stuff.

What seems essential for him, and I can agree with this is to have time to make a photo. To cite him: »We took time to construct an image« and »I can’t take a portrait in five minutes«. His advice to us is that we should take our time.

Fig. 3: The Psychedelic Furs. 1984. Mirror Moves [album cover]. Cover photography by Brian Griffin.

In the course of the lecture, many images of musicians followed. These are the ones Brain is famous for, and I know a lot of them: The Psychedelic Furs, Siouxsie, John Foxx, to name a few. He speaks about the tricks he used to get this or that picture, but also that »he didn’t care about the equipment, it is just the idea«. The right attitude in my eyes, because when technology comes to the fore, the images becomes lifeless.

When asked about the future of photography, he gives an interesting answer: »Women are the photographers of the future«. In his opinion, young female photographers produce the most exciting work today.

The lecture was accompanied by lots of anecdotes of the photograph’s protagonists. Brian is a brilliant storyteller, not only in his pictures but also in this lecture. I love to meet and listen to famous photographers. In the past, I had the chance to meet people like Rene Burri or Bruno Barbey (who past away on 9 November 2020). It is a shame that Brians’ lecture was virtual only, but this is better than nothing. Perhaps there is a chance to meet him in person in the future. 

I end with two pieces of advice about the work as a photographer he gave us:

First: You have to be obsessed with it.

Second: You got to be able to love it so much and don’t wanna do something else!

My recommendation if you are interested in this guy and his work: His book »Pop«. Actually sold out, but if you are lucky, you will find a used copy. Btw: The album covers are from my own collection, they’re from the eighties, orginal!

Fig. 4: Griffin and Rawlings 2017. Cover of »Pop«

References:

GRIFFIN, Brian. 2020. ‘Guest lecture with Brian Griffin’ [online lecture]. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/249/conferences [accessed 10 November 2020]

‘Neu! – laut.de – Band’. 2020. laut.de [online]. Available at: http://www.laut.de/neu! [accessed 13 Nov 2020].

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Depeche Mode. 1982. A broken frame [album cover]. Cover photography by Brian Griffin. Mute Records

Figure 2: Brian GRIFFIN. 1970s. Photograph of a TV direction executive. Screenshot from ‘Guest lecture with Brian Griffin’ [online lecture]. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/249/conferences [accessed 10 November 2020]

Figure 3: The Psychedelic Furs. 1984. Mirror Moves [album cover]. Cover photography by Brian Griffin. CBS Records

Figure 4: GRIFFIN, Brian and Terry RAWLINGS. 2017. Pop. London: GOST.

What happened until now (A reflection)

Fig. 1: Rauschkolb 2020. Streetlight and building on the former military ground, Lilienthalstrasse

The decision to continue to work in my neighbourhood was evident at the beginning of the module. What developed slowly were the details of the way of working.

Three weeks ago, I had the feeling that I am overwhelmed by all the material I had collected. Everything in this collection is excellent, exciting and has its own beauty. But the question was how to combine it in a meaningful way. On the other hand, because of Covid 19 and the partial lockdown, access to some sources, like archives, is restricted or not possible. Also, I am cautious and try to avoid meeting too many unknown people.

Fig. 2: Rauschkolb 2020. Officer’s Casino

Since the last week, I have the feeling of getting closer to the desired output. The first image of the old officer’s casino is ready, and I like it. Also, the feedback from my peers confirmed that I am on the right track.

Fig. 3: Rauschkolb 2020. First sketches for »Airfield 1« and »Airfield 2«

At the moment, I am working on two motifs from the »American time« of the airfield. Inspired by Donald Weber’s »War Sand«, I came up with the idea of using plastic soldiers and model kits in my work. The unbuild kits, which can also be interpreted as a kind of map, fit into my collages.

Fig. 4: Weber 2018. Spread from »War Sand«

Luckily, two new sources for archive material appeared. At first, a private collector and hobby historian who deals with the history of our area. The other is our local newspaper, the »Griesheimer Anzeiger«. They showed interest in the project, and I will meet them this week.

We will see what happens … 

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Marcel Rauschkolb. 2020. Streetlight and building on the former military ground, Lilienthalstrasse.

Figure 2: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Officer’s Casino.

Figure 3: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. First sketches for »Airfield 1« and »Airfield 2«.

Figure 4: Donald WEBER. 2018. Spread from »War Sand« from WEBER, Donald, Larry FROLICK and Teun van der HEIJDEN. 2018. War Sand. First edition. Edited by Paul Carlucci. Canada: Polygon.

An inspiration: Aikaterini Gegisian

I came across her through the website of MACK books (www.mackbooks.co.uk). And I must say that I never heard of her before – shame on me! Gegisian often works with found imagery. An approach, I like more and more. Two years ago, this way of working was strange to me, and I could not imagine working in this way.

Fig. 1: Gegisian 2020. Spread from »HANDBOOK OF SPONTANEOUS OTHER«

Gegisian often works with collages, and in her »Handbook of Spontaneous Other« (Gegisian 2020), she uses American and European material from the 1960s and 1970s for her work. Calvert Journal says about it: »liberating them from their original contexts, Gegisian has combined them into riotous collages, matching colour, form and subject to reveal some of their hidden logic. In doing so, she says, she’s given them a chance to ‘speak’« (MACK 2020). It is an exciting and well-designed book, but what thrilled me more were her two works »Build Memories« and »Sea Blues«.

Fig 2: Gegisian 2017. ‘Build Memories 1’

»Build Memories« deals with the »layered historical and geographic landscapes of Istanbul and Thessaloniki« (Gegisian 2020) and the relation of Turkey and Greece. She says about her work that the collages made of photos of well-known sites and touristic catalogues are a »strategy for the transformation of collective memories in a composite landscape« (Gegisian 2020). I like the work and how she combined these images to a new one. The layering gives depth, and when I look at them, I try to discover the stories behind the individual pictures as well as the new story told by the collage.

Fig. 3: Rauschkolb 2020. Officers Casino

The phrase »composite landscape« is fantastic, and I would like to claim it for my series too. I think that I can do that, because all these maps, images, objects combined build a new, subjective landscape based on my observations.

Fig. 4: Gegisian 2016. The Sea Blues [Found images, metal, wood]

The second work, »The Sea Blues«, caught my attention because of its three-dimensionality. Again, it is a combination of found imagery, here with the topic of the Aegean Sea, build along a horizon line. It is about the cities of Smyrna and Thessaloniki, their historical parallels and the history of migration. It also leads towards the refugee crisis of today. A text about the work says, that »the depth of field transforms the collage into a sculptural object« (Gegisian 2020). »Sculptural object« is a term I was searching for a longer time when working on the »Paprika Village« (Rauschkolb 2020) and its expansion into the three-dimensional (Rauschkolb 2020). 

Summarised: Gegisian is an exciting and inspiring artist, and from as of now on my »one’s to watch«-list.

References:

GEGISIAN, Aikaterini. 2020. ‘HANDBOOK OF THE SPONTANEOUS OTHER’. Aikaterini Gegisian [online]. Available at: https://gegisian.com/portfolio/handbook-of-the-spontaneous-other/ [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

MACK, Diane Smyth, From the Handbook of the Spontaneous Other by Aikaterini Gegisian Courtesy of the artist and. 2020. ‘Made from Travel Brochures and Porn Mags, These Seductive Collages Subvert the Western Gaze’. The Calvert Journal [online]. Available at: https://www.calvertjournal.com/features/show/11661/collages-artist-photo-book-western-gaze-aikaterini-gegisian [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

GEGISIAN, Aikaterini. 2020. ‘Build Memories (2015-2017)’. Aikaterini Gegisian [online]. Available at: https://gegisian.com/portfolio/build-memories-2015-2017/ [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

GEGISIAN, Aikaterini. 2020. ‘The Sea Blues (2016)’. Aikaterini Gegisian [online]. Available at: https://gegisian.com/portfolio/the-sea-blues/ [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

RAUSCHKOLB, Marcel. 2020. ‘Work in Progress Portfolio PHO703’. Marcel Rauschkolb Photography [online]. Available at: https://www.marcelrauschkolb.de/marcelwipportfoliopho703 [accessed 27 Oct 2020].


RAUSCHKOLB, Marcel. 2020. ‘»Alles Ist Skulptur« – From 3D to 2D and Back’. Marcels CRJ [online]. Available at: https://marcelrauschkolb.wordpress.com/2020/09/02/alles-ist-skulptur-from-3d-to-2d-and-back/ [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Aikaterini GEGISIAN. 2020. Spread from ‘HANDBOOK OF THE SPONTANEOUS OTHER’. [online image]. Available at: https://gegisian.com/portfolio/handbook-of-the-spontaneous-other/ [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

Figure 2: Aikaterini GEGISIAN. 2020. ‘Build Memories 1 (2017)’ from ‘Build Memories (2015-2017)‘. [online image]. Available at: https://gegisian.com/portfolio/build-memories-2015-2017/ [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

Figure 3: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Officers Casino.

Figure 4: Aikaterini GEGISIAN. 2016. ‘The Sea Blues (2016)’. [Found images, metal, wood] [online image]. Available at: https://gegisian.com/portfolio/the-sea-blues/ [accessed 8 Nov 2020].

Art, Commerce – and I?

Fig.1: Rauschkolb 2019. Anja and me at the exhibition »14. Stock« at the Literaturhaus Darmstadt

I am a little late with this post because the questions I will answer were asked in weeks three and four of this study-module. Because the whole module (»Sustainable Prospects«) deals with the different markets (including the art market) for photography and the roles a photographer can take, the questions are:

  • Do I feel that I have already found my personal visual style/ language?
  • Has my opinion about the commercial environment I am working in or want to change?
  • Which commercial environment I want to explore and why?

The visual language

Fig. 2: Rauschkolb 2020. Caravan on the site of the former officers’ casino, Griesheim
Fig. 3: Rauschkolb 2020. Former military area north of Lilienthalstrasse, Griesheim: Württemberg staff and officers’ building

In my personal projects, I work in a documentary style which I like to describe with the Walker Evans quote of the »lyrical documentary« (‘(1964) Walker Evans – “Lyric Documentary”. | Éditions Ismael’ n.d.). I like frontal views, even if I am trying more perspective views in the last time. When doing portraits, I like to show some of the surrounding environment. I am a great fan of available light and use flash sparingly. Most of my work is in colour, even if I started with black and white. I am not staging shots, and if, only a little bit.

Fig. 4: Rauschkolb 2014. Nick, who works at a store for skate-, longboards and graffiti material.

The mix of art and commerce

Fig. 5: Rauschkolb 2016. View of my exhibition »Touching from a Distance« at Fenstergalerie Will, Darmstadt

One of the decisions to start working freelance (since October), was to optimize this. Until 2019, while working mainly as a graphic designer for more or less twenty years, I worked on my personal projects in my spare time. But they got more significant, and I got more questions from clients to photograph for them. Personal projects are, in my eyes, an essential part of aa creatives life. I always tried to get enough time for them. They give me the chance to think and work on a subject without commercial reasons; they broaden my horizon. The experiences I make here are also useful for commercial projects (and vice versa). With my experience and mindset, I think I will be able to do this even in the future.

Commercial environments

Fig. 6: Rauschkolb 2020. Store interior, from an assignment for »Hautsache«, Darmstadt


I will answer the last two questions in one. No, I still want to work in the field of what is called »Corporate Photography«. This includes all the disciplines I like to work on (portrait, documentary, architecture, still). Also, I can offer my expertise in additional fields, like filming, 360°-photography, AR/VR and graphic design. Where I want to work more is the cultural sector. I started this roundabout six years ago with voluntary work for the »Darmstadt Days of Photography«. Guiding visitors through photography exhibitions, doing my own and curating other’s exhibitions followed. New in this year was the role of a jury member for the »Merck-Price for Photography«. I also judged the yearly contest of Darmstadt’s photo club and the students/ young photographers award, which is part of the festival. What I have to force is bringing my own personal/ artistic work to market. On the other hand, the work in the art environment, as a curator, guide, a teacher is a target I want to reach. The pandemic and its impact on daily and cultural life could give me the chance to use the combination of my expertise in photography and digital media to get new clients.

Fig. 7: Haag 2020. The Jury of the »Merck-Price for Photography« 2020 (Ute Noll, Gregor Schuster, Julia Reichelt, Kris Scholz, Alexandra Lechner, Marcel Rauschkolb)

Resources:

‘(1964) Walker Evans – “Lyric Documentary”. | Éditions Ismael’. n.d. [online]. Available at: https://editions-ismael.com/en/1964-walker-evans-lyric-documentary-2/ [accessed 24 Jan 2020].

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2019. Anja and me at the exhibition »14. Stock« at the Literaturhaus Darmstadt.

Figure 2: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Caravan on the site of the former officers’ casino, Griesheim.

Figure 3: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Former military area north of Lilienthalstrasse, Griesheim: Württemberg staff and officers’ building.

Figure 4: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2014. Nick, who works at a store for skate-, longboards and graffiti material.

Figure 5: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2016. View of my exhibition »Touching from a Distance« at Fenstergalerie Will, Darmstadt

Figure 6: Marcel Rauschkolb. 2020. Store interior, from an assignment for »Hautsache«, Darmstadt.

Figure 7: Albrecht HAAG. 2020. The Jury of the »Merck-Price for Photography« 2020 (Ute NollGregor SchusterJulia ReicheltKris ScholzAlexandra LechnerMarcel Rauschkolb)

»Sustainable Prospects« – mid-term oral presentation

This my oral presentation for week six of the study-module »Sustainable Prospects«. It is about the second part of my photographic project about the area of the former military training ground in Griesheim/ Hessen.

For the first portfolio and the accompanying presentation see:
»The Paprika Village« – WIP-Portfolio for »Surfaces and Strategies«
and Oral Presentation for PHO703 »Surfaces & Strategies«.

Working with maps

Fig. 1: Detail of »Frankfurt a. M. – Darmstadt«. 1935/ 1943

»Do something with maps!« – an advice I got from my tutor Colin Pantall in a webinar. I love maps, the clear and structured design of the modern ones, but also the old ones with their use of illustrations as a descriptive element. Nautical charts with their light colour scheme are my favourites. On the opposite, star maps, often with a dark blue background, have a fascination.

Fig. 2: Detail of »Frankfurt«. 1951

For my project, I started research on historical maps of Griesheim and Darmstadt. It was vital for me that they cover the area of the former »Exerzierplatz« (military training ground), the airfield and the settlement »Sankt Stephan«. Fun fact: My best resources for maps of this part of Germany are located in the US and Canada. Now I got plans which cover a period from 1853 to 1943, plus the actual ones from Google or Open Street Maps. My problem is how to bring maps, my photos and archive material together in a meaningful way. I hope to solve that in the next days and weeks. 

Fig. 3. Fisher 2016. Sculptural Landscape.

An exciting approach are Jonathan Fisher’s »Sculptural Landscapes« (Pantall 2016). He works with different techniques, data and »himself« (Pantall 2016) to explore new ways of visualising the landscape. This phrase fits perfectly with an interesting page titled »Maps, Borders and Networks« on the MoMa website. The subhead says, »artists use maps to tell stories about themselves and their views of the world« (‘MoMA | Maps, Borders, and Networks’ 2020).

Fig. 4: Perry 2004. Map of an Englishman. [etching]
Fig. 5: Tiravanija 2011. Untitled 2008 – 2011 (the map of the land of feeling) I. [Digital printing, lithography, chine collé, screenprint]

The works that thrilled me most here were Rirkrit Tiravanija’s »the map of the land of feeling« (‘MoMA | Rirkrit Tiravanija. Untitled 2008–2011 (the Map of the Land of Feeling) I–III. 2008–2011’ 2020) and Grayson Perry’s »Map of an Englishman« (‘MoMA | Grayson Perry. Map of an Englishman. 2004’ 2020). Different artistic approaches and techniques – but their both love for detail impressed me. Perry shows his brain as an island surrounded by seas named like delirium, narcolepsy (‘Grayson Perry’s Very British Brain Map’ 2020). Tiravanija uses collages to build his panoramic maps, with his passports as the main element to illustrate his travels. While reading about this, I stumbled over another work from him, called »Atlas« (‘Rirkrit Tiravanija | MoMA’ 2020), mood board-like works made of photographs, documents and maps. I couldn’t find much information about it, but it looks like a good inspiration for my work.

Fig. 6: Tiravanija 1995. Atlas I from Atlas I – IV.

Resources:

PANTALL, Colin. 2016. ‘Colin Pantall’s Blog: Jonathan Fisher’s Sculptural Landscapes’. Colin Pantall’s blog [online]. Available at: http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2016/05/jonathan-fishers-scultural-landscapes.html [accessed 13 Oct 2020].

‘MoMA | Maps, Borders, and Networks’. 2020. [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/maps-borders-and-networks/ [accessed 8 Oct 2020].

‘MoMA | Rirkrit Tiravanija. Untitled 2008–2011 (the Map of the Land of Feeling) I–III. 2008–2011’. 2020. [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/rirkrit-tiravanija-untitled-2008-2011-the-map-of-the-land-of-feeling-i-iii-2008-2011/ [accessed 8 Oct 2020].

‘MoMA | Grayson Perry. Map of an Englishman. 2004’. 2020. [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/grayson-perry-map-of-an-englishman-2004/ [accessed 13 Oct 2020].

‘Grayson Perry’s Very British Brain Map’. 2020. [online]. Available at: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/blog/grayson-perrys-brain-map-for-bethlem [accessed 14 Oct 2020].

‘Rirkrit Tiravanija | MoMA’. 2020. The Museum of Modern Art [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/artists/7479 [accessed 14 Oct 2020].

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Detail of ‘Frankfurt a. M.-Darmstadt’ [Text]. 2020. Digital Archive @ McMaster University Library [online]. Available at: http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo%3A27521 [accessed 8 Oct 2020].

Figure 2: Detail of ‘Frankfurt’ [Text]. 2020. Digital Archive @ McMaster University Library [online]. Available at: http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo%3A18970 [accessed 8 Oct 2020].

Figure 3: Jonathan FISHER. 2016. Sculptural Landscape. Available at: http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2016/05/jonathan-fishers-scultural-landscapes.html [accessed 13 Oct 2020].

Figure 4: Grayson PERRY. 2004. Map of an Englishman. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/grayson-perry-map-of-an-englishman-2004/ [accessed 13 Oct 2020].

Figure 5: Rirkrit TIRANIVANIJA. 2011. Untitled 2008 – 2011 (the map of the land of feeling) I. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/rirkrit-tiravanija-untitled-2008-2011-the-map-of-the-land-of-feeling-i-iii-2008-2011/ [accessed 8 Oct 2020].

Figure 6: Rirkrit TIRANIVANIJA. 1995. Atlas I from Atlas I – IV. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/artists/7479 [accessed 14 Oct 2020].

Thoughts on the Materiality of Photographs

Fig. 1: Rauschkolb 2020. A stack of old family photos

Stephen Shore states, that »a photograph is flat, it has edges, and it is static; it doesn’t move. While it is flat, it is not a true plane. The print has a physical dimension.« (Shore 2010: 16). He adds, that »the physical qualities of the print determine some of the visual qualities of the image« (Shore 2010: 17). For me, this means that a photograph is more than image information; it has to be seen as a three-dimensional object.

Fig. 2: Rauschkolb 2020. Screenshot from Adobe Lightroom with archival images

For my project, I got lots of pictures and documents from the city archive, but everything as a digital copy. Details that could be of interest or show traces of the former context aren’t visible to me. For example, I am not able to see on what paper the image was printed. I can’t smell the paper (sometimes it smells like old fixing bath, which indicates low durability). I can’t see handwritten notes, the photographer’s stamp or the watermark of the manufacturer – details, that can help in further research. And: In Lightroom, all images have the same size, whether they are from an Agfa Box or a studio camera, contact prints or enlargements. For all this information, I have to rely on the provided metadata. But that is not the same as the tactile experience of the original artefact.

Fig. 3: Rauschkolb 2020. Lab bag from 1974 and photos from the thirties

I support the digitisation of archives; this process helps researchers to get access from documents from all over the world. But, as Joanna Sassoon states »the digitising process can no longer be seen as merely changing the physical state of a photograph from the material to pixel« (Sassoon in Edwards et al. 2004: 188). I also agree with her that the digitisation of pictures focused on image content redefines the key features of the photographic object (Sassoon in Edwards et al. 2004: 186). The digital reproduction lacks the presentation format and context of the original. 

Fig. 4: Rauschkolb 2020. Kodak Gray Scale and Color Control Patches

Another critical aspect is the alteration of the digitised image by the operator and the tools used. If the viewer has no chance to compare with the original or helpers like colour control patches are not visible in the reproduction, changes are not visible. I can only quote Sassoon again when she writes, »this can be undertaken digitally unbeknownst to the viewer and without leaving visible trace« (Sassoon in Edwards et al. 2004: 190).

I will end with a personal resume: The digitisation of archives helps researchers through the easier accessibility of content, even over long distances. But we need archival experts and processes we can trust. They have to provide, beneath the image, as much information as possible about the original. And: If possible, we should always try to get access to the analogue original to compare it to the digital copy.

I quoted here from the book »Photographs Objects Histories« (Edwards et al. 2004) which I can recommend to everybody interested in this subject.

References:

SHORE, Stephen. 2010. The Nature of Photographs: A Primer. 2nd ed. London ; New York: Phaidon.

SASSOON, Joanna. 2004. ‘Photographic Materiality in the age of digital reproduction’. In EDWARDS, Elizabeth and Janice HART (eds.). 2004. Photographs Objects Histories: On the Materiality of Images. London ; New York: Routledge, 186 – 202.

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. A stack of old family photos.

Figure 2: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Screenshot from Adobe Lightroom with archival images.

Figure 3: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Lab bag from 1974 and photos from the thirties.

Figure 4: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Kodak Gray Scale and Color Control Patches.

It is nicer to have something physical: My first book about »The Paprika Village«

Fig. 1: Rauschkolb 2020. Portfolio »Das Paprikadorf«

My work on sculptures or objects made with photographs is still in a »virtual« phase. This means that I am still looking for ways to produce a real sculpture.

What is real and tangible now is my portfolio from the »Surfaces and Strategies«-module. I produced three pieces (one is for the city archive who supplied me with pictures), presenting the twelve images and accompanying texts. An online printing company made the pages. For the wire binding, I was allowed to use the equipment of a befriended agency.

Apropos wire binding: I haven’t used this technique for years. While reading Verna Posever Curtis’ excellent book »Photographic Memory: The album in the age of photography« (Curtis 2011), I came across some photographer’s albums/ notebooks bound with this technique.

Fig. 15: Curtis 2011. »Photographic Memory: The album in the age of photography«, [cover]

The examples included Phil Stern’s album about Frank Sinatra from 1961, three of Dorothea Lange’s notebooks (1935), and one from Jack Delano.

Figure 16: Stern 1961. Pages from ‘January 1961’
Fig. 17: Lange 1935. Pages from ‘First Rural Rehabilitation Colonists’
Fig. 18: Delano 1938 or 1939. Pages from ‘The Lower Anthracite Region, Volume Two’

In my eyes, a still useful and creatively convincing technology to produce an album, a notebook or a portfolio. For »The Paprika Village«, I intended to signalise that this booklet is the first part of a project. It stands for a first step, to be followed by others.

I will end with the technical details of my portfolio. The closed format is DIN A4 (297×210 mm), opened 594×210 mm. 30 pages. Cover and picture pages are 300 g/m². For the pages containing the captions, I used 120×210 mm, 120 g/m² paper.

Resources:

RAUSCHKOLB, Marcel. 2020. The Paprika Village/ Das Paprikadorf. Griesheim. Self-published.

CURTIS, Verna Posever. 2011. Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography. 1st ed. New York, N.Y. : [Washington, D.C.] : New York, N.Y: Aperture ; Library of Congress ; Available in North America through D.A.P./Distributed Art Pub.

List of Figures:

Figures 1 – 14: Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Portfolio »Das Paprikadorf«

Figure 15: Verna Posever CURTIS. 2011. Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography [cover]. 1st ed. New York, N.Y. : [Washington, D.C.] : New York, N.Y: Aperture ; Library of Congress ; Available in North America through D.A.P./Distributed Art Pub.

Figure 16: Phil STERN. 1961. Pages from ‘January 1961’ [gelatin-silver developed-out prints, mounted back-to-back; spiral bound]. From: Verna Posever Curtis. 2011. Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography (pp. 60 – 61).

Figure 17: Dorothea LANGE. 1935. Pages from ‘First Rural Rehabilitation Colonists’ [gelatin-silver developed-out prints mounted on cream card stock; spiral-bound]. From: Verna Posever Curtis. 2011. Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography (pp. 152 – 153).

Figure 18: Jack DELANO. 1938 or 1939. Pages from ‘The Lower Anthracite Region, Volume two’ [gelatin-silver developed-out prints, mounted back-to-back; spiral bound]. From: Verna Posever Curtis. 2011. Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography (pp. 162 – 163).