Fotograf Magazine

Kristofer Paetau

picturepeople #01: The Shadow of a Photographer

should not be there.
are not there. not all.
not quite.
you can be seen
we could not see but for your seeing.
everything we see could be different.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5. 634.


This sixty-piece collection of photographic cycles emerged as the result of e-mail correspondence between the writer Rüdiger Heinz and the artist Kristofer Paetau. Over the course of five years, they sent one another found amateur photographs of varying quality and age, accompanied by explanatory notes. Heinz and Paetau define the underlying principle of their collages as re-contextualization. This refers not only to the juxtaposition of originally incongruous images, but also their relationship to the accompanying text as a tool for understanding the cycle. The choice of subject matter appears random. Faces with a black spot, men with a deer, figures bidding each other farewell, miserable children as well as animal kisses. The accompanying texts make recourse to popular culture, the Holy Bible, or the leading lights of contemporary philosophy (e. g. Deleuze and Guattari). The connection of all the cycles is the theme of peculiar social phenomena. For what else can you call children clad in superhero costumes, or grown men wielding the artificial arms of the comic book character Hulk, or photographs of people with a koala.

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#21 On Photography