Fotograf Magazine


Global warming is a reality we either decide to confront, or not. Experts agree that only few of us are able to conceive of ‘the climate’ with our senses, and thereby consciously experience changes in the climate. The temporality of the human being as an individual is tied much more intimately to the weather. Photography, then, is a recording medium that overcomes human time, and can therefore serve as a guideline to seeing and, perhaps, experiencing and understanding climate change. Photography, however, with its recent date of discovery, is only a manual on how to read the imprints and inscriptions that the planet itself offers us on the subject of the changes of the climate and other natural processes. This perspective of planetary processes as imprints of events onto the sensitive surface of the Earth (whether this regards ice, soil and rocks, the flows and surfaces of water or air pollution) became Lukáš Likavčan’s starting point as curator of this year’s Fotograf Festival and also as guest editor of this edition of Fotograf Magazine.

Just as Dietmar Offenhuber, on the pages of our Theory section, considers possible ways of bridging the gap between the immeasurable amount of data at the disposal of science and the visualizations created by nature itself, Likavčan introduces artistic approaches that indirectly respond to this challenge. As he himself puts it: “I am interested in whether we can speak of photography today not as a medium of the representation of nature, but as the medial character of nature itself – as a process of imprints of biological, chemical and geological processes into the photosensitive surface of the planet.” Traces such as these are also recorded in the work of Michal Kindernay, who makes extended observations of the sky, creating abstract blue-white-gray-black images. The ability of photography to ‘freeze time’ is also put to use by Naoya Hatakeyama. His images of mine blasts are almost painful intersections of the times and information captured in the earthly layers of rock, appearing in sharp contrast to the careful and precise research into ice cores explored in the work of Susan Schuppli. The question that arises from these and other artistic approaches contained in the current issue is what it means to be a earthling. It is not simply a power given by our ability to record data – it should also be the capacity for understanding and empathy towards planetary processes on the basis of their interpretation.

Tereza Rudolf