Photos

Photos und Photoserien – Photos and Series

Faszination des Schreckens: Im Schlachthof

Ein Klick auf das Bild führt Sie weiter zur Serie  – und ist Ihre individuelle Entscheidung.
Ein dumpfer Knall. Für den Bruchteil einer Sekunde schien der Bulle in der Luft zu schweben, bevor er auf dem Kachelboden im Schlachthaus zusammenbrach. Ein letzter Atemzug, wie ein Seufzer, zitternde Beine. Mit Elektrosäge und blitzendem Hackmessern begann der Mann im weißen Kittel, das mächtige Tier zu häuten und zu zerteilen. Beklemmende Augenblicke zwischen Ekel erregendem Gestank der klaffenden Bauchhöhle. Innereien und Gedärme quellen hervor, blutbespritzt, faserig und glibberweiß. Es sind fremde Gerüche – und ebensolche Geräusche: Knirschen von Knochen, Reißen von Haut und Sehnen. Vor allem aber der Geruch des frischen Blutes, alltagsfern und nasenfremd. Ein schwerer, metallischer und eigenartiger Dunst, ungewohnt und bedrohlich. Er haftet auf der Haut, in Haaren und Kleidung, bleibt als hartnäckige, beklemmende Spur noch lange im Geruchsgedächtnis zurück.

Im Kopf hatte ich ein Sammelsurium aus Gedanken und Assoziationen damals; eine Bilderflut beim Fotografieren, durchs Sehen lebendig geworden, verstärkt noch durch die sensorischen Ebenen des Riechens und Hörens. Abbilden, Zeigen ist widersprüchliche Verarbeitung und Auseinandersetzung mit dem Gesehenen, ist Faszination des Grauens und des schwer Erträglichen, mit befremdlich ästhetischen Komponenten: Blut mit seiner brachialen, dominanten Farbigkeit zwischen hellem, flüssigen Rot bis zu fast schwarzen Klumpen. Blut als Metapher für Leben und Tod, für Krieg, Macht und Unterdrückung. Blut auch in der Kunst: Gedanken an das »Orgien Mysterien Theater« des Aktionskünstlers Hermann Nitsch, der mit seinen Installationen und Kunstaktionen in den 60er Jahren Zuschauer provozierte und schockierte.

Marina Abramovic und ihre Performance »Balkan Baroque«, die den Jugoslawienkrieg thematisierte und 1997 auf der Biennale in Venedig für Aufsehen sorgte: An vier Tagen saß die serbische Künstlerin auf einem blutigen Berg aus Knochen, sang Totenklagen und löste in endloser, ritualisierter Gestik Fleischfetzen vom Gebein. Knochen, Symbol für Tod, Gruselfaktor in Beinhäusern und zugleich ältestes organisches Material für Künstler und ihre Kreativität, von Schnitzereien und Statuen über beinerne Kämme, Knöpfe und Gürtelschnallen. Votivtafeln für Gebete um Heilung und Wunscherfüllung – bis hin zur Querverbindung in die Musik: Klaviertasten aus Elfenbein, Sättel für Saiteninstrumente.

Nachdenken bei der photographischen Arbeit auch über zeitgenössische Menschen: In gefüllten Tiefkühltruhen liegt Fleisch, das nur per Etikettierung verrät, welches Tier das einmal war. Ausgeblendet sind die Vorstufen der Nahrung, Massentierhaltung und blutiges Handwerk in Massenschlachtungen. Burger und Steaks auf dem Grill, eine Pseudo-Naturidylle aus Perspektive des Stadtsozialisierten. Teil des Lebens ist der Tod, doch wir sind ihm entfremdet; und umso mehr von Ekel, Abwehr und Angst gebeutelt, je unmittelbarer wir mit dem Fremdgewordenen, Unbekannten und Verdrängten konfrontiert werden. Die Frage des Metzgers an mich als Photographin war in diesem Kontext so berechtigt wie absurd: »Fallen Sie um, wenn Sie Blut sehen?« Nein. Ganz banal übrigens, weil ich zwar in der Stadt aufgewachsen bin, mir aber dank ländlich rustikaler Verwandtschaft inklusive geschlachteter Tiere von Huhn bis Schwein die blutigen Vorstufen fertiger Schnitzel und Würste nicht fremd sind. Sie ängstigen mich nicht, sie ekeln mich nicht. Und Fleisch esse ich auch nach dieser Reportage noch.

Entstanden ist die Serie als eine von mehreren Auftragsarbeiten für ein Kirchenmagazin, das sich dem Thema »Mensch und Tier« widmete. Die Bilder lösten nach ihrer Veröffentlichung eine große Bandbreite von Reaktionen aus: Überwiegend Ekel und Abscheu, aber auch beeindruckte Faszination, gepaart mit Beschimpfungen und Verstörtheit. Dass »eine sensible Photographin«, gar »eine Frau solche Bilder machen« könne … und überhaupt, man dürfe »so etwas« nicht veröffentlichen. Eine der Debatten damals drehte sich um die Frage, wie man als Photograph »solch grässlichen, blutrünstigen Bildern« als faszinierend bezeichnen oder gar ästhetische Momente entdecken könne.

Der Kirchenvertreter war verblüfft, als ich ihm mit einem Zitat aus der Bibel antwortete. Im Paulus-Brief an die Epheser (4.18) heißt es: »…sie sind entfremdet dem Leben, das aus Gott ist, durch die Unwissenheit, die in ihnen ist.«. Dass Horror und Grauen eine ganz eigene Faszination haben, belegen zahlreiche Beispiele in der Kunst: Stellvertretend seien hier Alfred Hrdlickas »Wiedertäuferzyklus« und die Werke von Boris Lurie genannt, aber auch der surrealistische Film »Ein andalusischer Hund« von Luis Bunuel und Salvador Dalí.

Photos: ©HeikeRost.com – Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Weiterführende Links:

Hermann Nitsch, »Das Orgien Mysterien Theater« (Website)
Marina Abramovic: »Balkan Baroque« (1999, Film von Pierre Couliboeuf, 58 Minuten)
Alfred Hrdlicka: „Wiedertäufer-Zyklus“ (Bildsuche-Resultate)
Boris Lurie im Netz
Luis Buñuel/Salvador Dalí: »Ein andalusischer Hund« (Website zum Film)

World Press Photo International 2014 – Favorite Images

JohnStanmeyerWPYI2013_Djibouti
Congratulations to John Stanmeyer, american photographer and photojournalist! His outstanding photo of African migrants is World Press Photo of The Year 2013. The silhouettes of people at the shores of Djibouti, raising their cellphones to capture a mobile signal from Somalia, give another perspective of migration in Africa. The tenous link to relatives abroad is a strong symbol – on the one hand side for the daily life of migrants, as Djibouti is one of the stop-off points for people in transit from other African countries.
But this photograph makes a visual difference: Without denying the hard facts of migration, it is in its strong and emotional impression a symbol of hope and humanity.

Update 15.2.2014 – via John Stanmeyer’s Instagram: »This photograph of Somalis trying to „catch“ a signal is an image of all of us as we stand at the crossroads of humanity, where we must ask ourselves what is truly important, demanding our collective attention in a global society where the issues of migration, borders, war, poverty, technology and communication intersect.« John Stanmeyer about his photograph.
Update 20.2.2014 – See the video and listen to John Stanmeyer’s „story of the photo“ – click on the photo above.

courtesy_TaslimaAktherWPYI2013_Dhaka
Talking about a different view also means to have a closer look at a second photograph of the contest – by Taslima Akther from Bangladesh: Her photo of a dead couple, captured in a collapsed garment factory at Dhaka, is among the awarded images. It is one of the most impressing, heart wrenching photos illustrating grief and dead. Having been criticized as deeply disturbing and blamed as respectless, »The Final Embrace« is a hauntingly beautiful photograph, which gives a human face to the tragedy of Dhaka.

courtesy_PetervanAgtmael_HealingBobby_2013
Third of my personal favorites among the winners is Peter van Agtmael’s touching series »Healing Bobby«. Van Agtmael, Magnum photographer, portrayed Bobby Henlin, who suffered burns on more than a third of his body, when his Humvee hit an explosive device near Baghdad/Iraq.

»If I can share my story and help somebody else…I don’t care if it’s a room of 100 or 1500…if one person out of that room changes their life for the better because of my story…oh my god…I gotta keep doing this.« Bobby Henlin in the documentary film »Healing Bobby«, directed by Peter van Agtmael.

Additional links:

John Stanmeyer’s Website
Blog „Out of Eden“ (Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden world walk, National Geographic)
John Stanmeyer about his photograph (Video)

Taslima Akther’s website
Time Lightbox about Taslima Akther’s photo

Peter van Agtmael’s website
»Healing Bobby« – the documentary film at TIME Magazine

World Press Photo Award 2014 – The galleries

»The World’s Best (Unaltered) Photos« (14.2.2014, James Estrin on Lens Blog/New York Times)
»57th World Press Photo Awards« (14.2.2014, LensCulture.com – Slideshow)

Encounters: Marianne

Hands ©HeikeRost.com 26.1.2014 - All rights reserved.
»Behold the hands, how they promise, conjure, appeal, menace, pray, supplicate, refuse, beckon, interrogate, admire, confess, cringe, instruct, command, mock and what not besides, with a variation and multiplication of variation which makes the tongue envious.« Michel de Montaigne

Hands, wearing scars from life, work, giving to others … and love.

Photo: ©HeikeRost.com 26.1.2014 – All rights reserved.

Image and View Selections – 19.1.2014


Fifteen year old Fabienne Cherisma was shot dead 19. January 2010 by Haitian police after looting a shop. Photographer Paul Hansen, known for his winning entry at World Press Award 2012 and debates on »extensive photoshopping«, won »International News Image« of »Swedish Picture of The Year Award 2010« for his picture of the dead young girl. But there was yet another view of the scene, captured by Nathan Weber, which offers a completely different perspective, raising questions and debates about photojournalism and ethics in general. Nothing new so far, as Ruben Salvadori’s report shows:

Photojournalism Behind the Scenes [ITA-ENG subs] from Ruben Salvadori on Vimeo.

Personally, discussions about »the best photo« don’t make any sense to me. The usual accusations of photojournalists‘ »vulture behaviour«, »exploitation of victims« and »truth of photos« don’t, either. Reporting from war zones and crisis areas were, are and will always be a kind of serious tightrope walk. But how to apply standards to something beyond all imaginable standards, though?

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts with Image and View.

Additional links:

»The First Photo Won a Prize; The Second Made a Controversy Explode« (Politica Y Sociedad, 21.12.2013)
»Brouhaha in Sweden following Award to Paul Hansen for his Image of Fabienne Cherisma« (Prison Photography, 23.3.2011)
»This is 15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma, shot dead by a policeman after looting three picture frames.« (Colors Magazine, 9.4.2013)
»Haiti« (Nathan Weber’s website NBW Photo)
»Ruben Salvadori’s Photojournalism Behind The Scenes“ (No Caption Needed, 24.2.2012)
»Ruben Salvadori: Photojournalism Behind The Scenes« (Vimeo, 2012)
»Hinter den Kulissen des Photojournalismus« (ZEIT, 22.3.2012)
»’I was gutted that I’d been such a coward‘: photographers who didn’t step in to help« (The Guardian, 28.7.2012)
»The Future of Photojournalism – Part 1« (Tribe Magazine, 16.8.2013)
»The Future of Photojournalism – Part 2« (Tribe Magazine, 21.9.2013)
»Kevin Carter: The Consequences of Photojournalism« »Double Exposure – 60 Minutes« (CBS documentary about David and Peter Turnley, 2011)
»Viral photo of abusive Israeli soldier called a fake« (LA Times Blog, 2.2.2012)
»’Heartbreaking‘ Syria orphan photo wasn’t taken in Syria and not of orphan« (The Independent, 17.1.2014)

Update 21.1.2014

»Photographing Fabienne: Conclusions« (PrisonPhotography, 8.4.2010 – please see additional links in the article pointing to photographers‘ statements on the scene/capture.)

Update 24.1.2014

»Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer banned by AP after photo alteration«(Politico, 24.1.2014)
„Should the AP Really Have Fired This Pulitzer-Prize War Photographer?“ (Gawker, 24.1.2014)
»Truth and Consequences for a War Photographer« (James Estrin, Lens Blog/NYT, 24.1.2014)
»Ethics Matters: Digital Processing« (NPPA, 25.2.2013)

Zero tolerance or zero intelligence?“(duckrabbitblog, 23.1.2014)

Encounters: Stéphanie


Amazing encounters, which are proof for Edouard Boubat’s wise words about the lots of gifts waiting at each corner of the street, as long as you keep eyes, heart and mind open. This is Stéphanie, whom I met at Les Halles, Paris. I’ve been blown away by her fascinating face with the sparkling eyes and beautiful smile, her grace and enchanting attitude; and couldn’t resist to ask her, if I could make a portrait of her. Fortunately, she kindly smiled – and we had a lovely portrait session of a few minutes.

Her portrait just received a »Mark of Excellence« at the »I shot it Black and White Competition 4/2013« – I’m humbled, speechless, honored and very happy. See more phantastic photos of the contest here.

Photo: ©HeikeRost.com 11.9.2013 – All rights reserved.

Encounters: Liesel

Liesel - ©HeikeRost.com 01.01.2014 - All rights reserved.
Her amazing smile was the first thing I noticed about Liesel when I met her at friends‘ Christmas dinner. She sat there, laughing, talking with people of all ages around her, with a vibrant, charismatic attitude, full of cheerfulness and joy. I knew she would be there, because my friend Paulien called me: »You’ll meet an outstanding person, I’d suggest … bring your camera with you!«

I made only a few snapshots during the evening; due to low light and intense conversations, I decided to ask Liesel and her family for another appointment. A more relaxed one, for a coffee or two. And sent some of the photos I already made to her. On New Year’s Eve her son invited me to see each other the next day. When I arrived, Liesel opened the door, a twinkle in her eyes. We both smiled – and hugged each other. (Which must have been a great scene to watch, as she is a tiny person of perhaps 1,60m and I’m about 1,82m…)

To cut a long story short: It has been a lovely, intense conversation with this beautiful, admirable lady, who loves gardening, reads lots, is interested in politics, in life and people around her. And will celebrate her centenary this year. „When I look and talk to all these interesting people of all ages around me, my heart opens wide“, she said with her astonishing young voice, „… as if my heart is too big for my chest.“ A memorable moment, full of cheerfulness, wisdom and grace, which I consider as most important: For the insights, which were a lesson about life and attitude towards life, about beauty and spirit. I cherish this one as one of the great moments in my life.

My cup definitely runneth over, while I returned back home, full of happiness and deep joy. Then I read a beautiful Jamaican saying: »Whatever you start your new year doing, is exactly the thing you will keep doing throughout the year.«

… and yes I said yes I will Yes.

What a difference …

The Trees 02 ©2013 HeikeRost.com - All rights reserved.
To return to a favorite spot means to recognize what a difference a day makes…

The Trees  01 ©HeikeRost.com 06/2013 - All rights reserved.

Upper photo: ©HeikeRost.com 03.01.2014 – All rights reserved.
Lower photo: ©Heikerost.com 13.06.2013 – All rights reserved.

In Search of Lost Time

Attic Finds - ©HeikeRost.com 11/2013 - All rights reserved.
Attic finds from ancient times are very often a touching, even embarrassing experience: The look at the handwritten notes of an unknown person, who died around the middle of last century, offers an intense perspective of the past and of history. All those items of daily life, cobwebbed and covered with layers of dust in their long sleep! The enchanted light came from a narrow roof hatch and some cracked roof tiles; it gently touched the ancient pushchair and gave a haunting atmosphere to the abandoned room.

It has been a frosty weekend on the countryside: While chopping wood, I let my thoughts wander around. Later, I sat at the chimney for a while, listened to the sizzling noise of the fire; what a timeless moment of silence, once in a while the wooden balks and floors cracked slightly. As if the house itself was a vivid being, with a gentle breath in its sleep, suddenly stretching from time to time. What a pleasure to listen to these stories of their own! Told by the abandoned house itself – to the unexpected visitor, who didn’t come as an intruder but a cautious observer and explorer.

The two days have been a intense and sometimes grief-stricken journey: walking on tiptoe, deep into the history of the countryside, where so much remains of bygone family lives, dreams and wishes murmur and whisper – about shattered visions of being at home.

Photo: ©HeikeRost.com 11/2013 – All rights reserved.

A New Year’s Kiss

A Paris Kiss
»A kiss that is never tasted, forever and ever is wasted.« ~ Billie Holiday
Here’s a New Year’s kiss to 2014, which may be happy, healthy prosperous and full of life, love, laughter, inspiration … and kisses, of course.

Happy New Year, everybody!

©HeikeRost.com 09/2013 – All rights reserved.

A Love Letter to Paris …

Rain in Paris, strolling couples with umbrellas at the banks of the Seine: a silent image full of melancholy is front page picture of Peter Turnley’s book » French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris“. Published in October 2013, Turnley forms in 138 photographs of his long-term project a mosaic of observations and tells his very own story of Paris, his adopted home for 40 years; with a dash of Robert Doisneau and Edouard Boubat. Tango at the Trocadero , elegant legs on high heels, the intimate connection of a couple: Sunken in dance – and erotic sparkles in black and white. A pregnant woman at a public Salsa dancing on the Seine: A portrait of a joyful summer at Paris. And the silent moments of the city: children playing in the quiet little streets of Paris; its people, in cafes and bistros, dancing, kissing, sometimes melancholic and sad. Beyond all clichés, captured with a wink, »French Kiss« is an intense, poetic portrait of a vibrating city. And even more: Bizarre encounters, such as with Monsieur Bernard, who installed his bathtub on the roof of his house and made it his favorite place to read in the summer, open unusual perspectives and intimate insights – in the timeless spirit of a restless city. And in some other, lesser known facets of a great photographer who became famous for his reports and images from war and crisis areas.

Rwanda , Somalia, Kosovo and Iraq , fall of the wall up to 9/ 11, Gulf wars , and earthquakes in Haiti , Saddam’s fall – like his twin brother David, Peter Turnley has been eye witness of many historic moments. His works focus on the terrible consequences for the people; he reports with unsparing sharpness about war, destruction and death at numerous crisis and disaster areas in the world. Awarded at numerous prestigious competitions such as World Press Award Competition , POYi or Overseas Press Club, published in virtually every major magazine, among them Newsweek, Harper’s Magazine, National Geographic, STERN, Turnley’s images are personal observations, far beyond the boundaries of pure reporting. Remember the exhausted firefighter at Ground Zero, a cover of Newsweek. Or the series “ The Unseen Gulf War“: for its clarity, its intense look and reduced photo language, this series belongs to Peter Turnley’s most poignant works.

No matter if reports from war and disaster areas or photographic notes, documentation and snapshots: Peter Turnley’s photographic work is as distinctive as a signature. And his visual language in “ French Kiss “ is still the same – and yet completely different: Impressive in restraint, as if watching on tiptoe, with respect, warmth and affection, even love for life, for the small things of everyday life and the beautiful finds along the way. Nothing in these images is reinvented or new, no need to reinvent anything. And thus Peter Turnley’s photographs deeply touch their viewers. As if they accompany the photographer during his Paris walks, with an open mind and eyes, exploring the city, being completely amazed – by the lovely gifts that Peter Turnley discovers on every corner of the streets.

In their black and white timelessness and silence the »French Kiss« photographs are of stunning and captivating beauty; each one is a picture you’ll want to have around, every day, like a companion and friend. Impossible to get enough of these photographs, not of the motives and the stories they tell nor nor of the marvelous, abundant gray tones that speak of the colorful life at Paris. Unmistakably „French Kiss“ shows the signature of another master: Voja Mitrovic, who worked as a fine art printer for many great photographers like Henri Cartier- Bresson, Josef Koudelka, Sebastiao Salgado – and Peter Turnley . For decades Peter Turnley’s companion and friend, Voja Mitrovic is responsible for the prints of those images that were not photographed digitally, but on film.

»French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris“ is not only a tribute to the photographer’s adopted home. Turnley’s images also invite their beholders to a visual journey – to Paris with its myriads of facets. Between silent joy and melancholy not a single photograph leaves its viewer unaffected; some motives offer smiles and cheerfulness, some sadness which touches to tears. This compilation of images, of 40 years of photography in Paris, is full of intense joy, deep affection and tenderness of seeing. With his photographs, Peter Turnley proves to be a wonderful storyteller of a nonverbal story: About friendship and love, about the things in life which really matter,  the intimate pleasure of romance. Picture by picture, »French Kiss« is also an autobiography of a passionate photographer who gives with his own story a new perspective of life to his viewers – a strong reminder, how fleeting and precious the beauty of life is.

»French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris« is available exclusively via Peter Turnley’s website. Each limited, first edition book will be signed by Peter Turnley.

Additional links:
“Open Eyes and Heart in Paris” – New York Times/Lens Blog, 3.10.2013
»French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris« – Video (Interview) via Leica Camera, 2.10.2013
»Peter Turnley – Moments of the Human Condition« Part 01 (NPPA/Jim Colton, 8.10.2013)
»Peter Turnley – The Newsweek Years …« Part 02 of the NPPA Interview (NPPA/Jim Colton, 11.10.2013)
Peter Turnley’s page on Facebook
»’French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris‘ by Peter Turnley« (The Online Photographer, Mike Johnston, 8.10.2013)
»Digital File to Silver Print« (The Online Photographer, Mike Johnston, 21.10.2013)

All photos: ©Peter Turnley