How do you photography a spirit?, Martim Gusinde & Christine Barthe
O lugar de cada um, Dana Lixenberg & Pieter Hugo
The form of freedom, Wolfgang Tillmans
Everyday life on the hill, Afonso Pimenta & Ana Paula Orlandi
Against the synthetic portrait, for the snapshot (1928), Aleksandr Ródtchenko & Erika Zerwes
The perception of distance, Masahisa Fukase & Simon Baker
An exercise in perspective, Anna Bella Geiger & Laura Erber
The silence of the lens, David Claerbout
Beyond the exotic, Yann Gross & Daigo Oliva
A brief classification of photographic memes, Viktor Chagas
Photography shows the other, similar or different. On the cover of this issue, a bride re-stages her marriage in one of the thousands of images produced by Afonso Pimenta in the 1980s in Aglomerado da Serra, Belo Horizonte. At the request of his clients or on his own initiative, Pimenta documented the day-to-day lives and intimate moments of his neighbors, who had little access to photography.
Deterioration has not prevented the collection from becoming a rare and precious record of the private lives of Brazilians. The German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans became known in the 1990s for documenting the social and sexual lives of his friends. Disdain for tradition and hedonism fueled the aesthetic and social renewal in Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Missionary Martin Gusinde could not prevent a genocide, but his methodical study of the Tierra del Fuego people years later preserved the enchantment of those cultures. The riots following Rodney King’s death sparked the Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg’s interest in photographing the residents of the poorer suburbs of Los Angeles, with a dignity that many would rather keep invisible.
In the 1970s, artist Anna Bella Geiger assumed the identity of others to confront stereotypes and preconceptions; while more recently the contemporary Swiss artist Yann Gross records his discovery of an Amazon that combines tradition with exoticism.
Art feeds on the written word. Ninety years ago, Aleksandr Rodchenko fought the unique and authoritarian voice of painting in favor of the multiplicity of photography, in a manifesto the resounds even more strongly today if read in the light of search engines such as Google. Belgian David Claerbout explains why the dream of freedom promised by digital animation ends up reinforcing our normal senses and the dominant aesthetics.
Through memes we glimpse the future, where symbolic absurdity and subversive humor – but also prejudice and aggression – reveal more about us than we might like.