Fotograf Magazine


Living with Humans

How to look at animals. This sentence from John Berger’s essay was fundamental in preparing an issue that tries to grasp the theme of species coexistence in a way that breaks established stereotypes about the usual separation of the human world from the animal world. For animals are always present here; it is only our relationships with them that change over time. Although we place ourselves alongside them in the system of animal species, we strive to distinguish ourselves on many levels – political, cultural, spiritual and others. The thematic part of this issue is devoted to tendencies in art that upset, cover, or shift these planes towards a consciousness of how all livings things belong together.

What must it be like, to experience this epoch that we’re living in, but as part of a non-human family? In a subordinate position? Or, in many cases, with the very existence of your species threatened? How would you feel to be an endangered species or perhaps a utility animal? And would you see any way out?

The monologue of the Kashmiri goat in Max Vajt’s project can bring a different perspective on how this breed is usually approached, and what as- sociations it raises in regard to its economic exploitation. Are you still warmed in the same way by a sweater with a blend of its fur? In itself this may be one thing pushing you towards the Institute of Anxiety. In an interview with Tereza Rudolf, its deputy tries to face the environmental anxieties caused by human activity, and by combining a conceptual approach with activism they offer new formats and a new perspective on the issue. In the pictorial section we are fas- cinated by Marc Coates’s connection to animals through pseudo-shamanistic rituals – all in his living room and in the presence of neighbors from a block of flats. Artist Dániel Szalai, combines the motif of the pigeon and the motif of the rat and contrasts points of view in which the pigeon may be useful, beautiful, or even a symbol of peace, but —in the everyday city— is much more often judged to be vermin in need of regulation and a whole row of rules and regulations. In a sense, it is an exemplary case of the tension we have chosen in the theme Living with Humans.

Photography plays a crucial role in all of this as a medium that simultaneously documents and reshapes the world, and especially the individual perspectives around us.

Fotograf magazine, at its eighteenth birthday, is undergoing an overall redesign and change of concept. This is not a New Year’s resolution to be slimmer, although we have decided to reduce weight (over half a kilo was a bit overweight for one periodical, especially at the cost of postage). It is also an ambition to get out one number per year more and to be more visible. The international focus of the authors remains the main backbone of the thematic section, and the review section extends its focus to the wider European space. Like animals, we have our territories, but we do not know the boundaries.

Markéta Kinterová and Tomáš Hrůza