Friday, November 5, 2010

Passport Project

I've been given further though to a 'Passport' themed project. Something that made me think even more was an section from a photography documentary yesterday.

It was the work of 'August Sander, a photographer who dared to continue taking images even though the Nazi authorities constrained his life and work. His crime was of trying to form a photographic archive covering the diversity of the German people during the 1920's and 1930's' (cited from Despite being constrained by the Nazi party and having most of his work destroyed - 'and Sander's book (Face of Our Time) was banned in 1934 - the printing plates for the book were also smashed by the Nazis authorities' (cited from despite this in total during his time he managed to produce over 40,000 images, which he divided into seven categories. The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc).

This starts to make me think about how our own image can be portrayed and categorized. I started to look around and found the work of Thomas Ruff of interest. One of his projects in particular was of a 'Passport style picture' I've attached below a few screen captures, and will follow this up more with text in a later post. I am still reading and researching what strikes me most, was his thought process of capturing people in a 'dead-pan' manner, and tried to exclude any emotion of himself in the picture, by simply asking the subject to 'pose as they would like to be seen' - something that echoing in recent reading of Les Back's 'Listening with our eyes project' Chapter 7 Picturing the Social Landscape. 

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