Which cameras does Andreas Gursky use

Photography - a lost medium

From technical framework conditions and cultural meanings - the end of photography

In October 2015 an art magazine read: "Does Gursky's reorientation towards the fairytale uncle of the republic mean the end of an artist era?"

Andreas Gursky, we remember, is the most expensive photographer in history. A few years ago, his color photo "Rhein II" achieved a price of 3.1 million euros at an auction in New York. And what has Gursky got to do with Fuji's new camera, the X100T, which looks like it was from the 1950s? And where has the "punctum" of Roland Barthes gone, who once wrote: "All the young photographers who rush through the world because they have dedicated themselves to catching current affairs do not know that they are agents of death." 1

And now it happened. The photograph itself has been caught dead. We are currently seeing the decline of a medium. Again: the photography is finished. At least in the form and practice known to us up to now. Because just as dead bodies decompose and - ashes to ashes, dust to dust - finally dissolve in nature and the atoms rearrange themselves, so photography disappears in the digital of the comitative sphere, i.e. the enveloping of our world by the network of information technology.

Because to the favorite terms of those IT gurus who explain World 4.0 to us, ie "disruption" (interruption, breakdown) and "granularization" (crumbling), one now has to add "amalgamation". This means the merging of different media such as film, photography, sound, language and writing in digital form into a new medium that is accessible everywhere via the Internet.

The change in the current change of epoch from the analogue to the digital world is also a change away from delimited entities of world information towards a constant flow of information, away from unity towards state. A picture: If the old world consists of the distinguishable grains of sand on the beach, the new world is the fluid of the surging ocean.

What sometimes gets on people's minds. The current great interest in photography exhibitions, the exhibits of which come from the analogue era, has a lot to do with this flowing, permanently flowing, inevitable, and permanently surrounding. These black-and-white images of the past satisfy the human longing for the manageability of relationships and orientation in social relationships that have become confusing.

Retro wave: retreat to secure terrain, also in digital technology

The more flexible your existence in the modern world of work, where you can no longer even cling to your desk, the more calming are the photos from bygone times: photography stops the world and forever manifests this moment of the photo, it functions as the focus an order system with a before and after, photography is like an anchor of the soul in infinity. And so the exhibition visitor delights in this ordered world because it corresponds to his own order, since, as Merleau-Ponty noted, "looking at an object means immersing oneself in it, but the objects form a system in which the one can only show himself by covering up others ".2

The retreat to secure terrain is also the basic trend of the retro wave in terms of industrial design and needs, be it the bulbous refrigerator of the 1950s, the modernized Fiat 500 or the "country life" magazines sprouting from the ground with articles about "old apple varieties." "and" Grandma's Health Recipes ". This is followed by the Fuji X100T, whose retro design is reminiscent of a Zeiss Ikon from 1955. Today cameras are also discussed in electronics magazines and so "Chip" writes about the X100T: "Top image quality packaged in an extensively equipped retro housing." This manifests itself, for example, in an optical viewfinder and controls for manual focusing and the setting of time and aperture. Inside, of course, it's digital: "With 16 megapixels on an APS-C sensor with X-Trans-II technology, the noble compact achieves razor-sharp 1,615 line pairs per image height at ISO 100 and 400." And an exposure time of 1: 32,000 is only possible electronically.

But what exactly is this retro design aimed at? It aims to restore or better: simulate the analogue photography situation, which is or was more than the mechanical construction of the camera and the chemical method of image recording. Anyone who wants to understand why the aura of photography is currently beginning to dissolve has to look at the constitutional elements of this aura. Then you come across Roland Barthes' "Punctum", that is, the accidental in a photograph that affects, wounds, stabs the viewer; an element of the picture that shoots by itself like "an arrow out of its context" in order to "pierce". 3

Retro design and the rush to exhibit works by analogue photographers of the past are a reference to the loss of a certain quality of vision and a world view that also included poetry. The cultural moment of this photography lay in the encounter with a world that concealed an undiscovered, a secret that could be captured with photography. In this sense photography was a discovery, photography was the trace of life. This trace has been lost in the digital world and can no more be revived by a retro design than the retro refrigerator from the 1950s was the atmosphere of optimism at the time. What remains is the quote.

It follows II: The luxury of non-photography (Rudolf Stumberger)

Read comments (120 posts) https://heise.de/-3570141Report an errorPrint