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Self-Image - A Step Inside ---> Catalogue of the Darmst├Ądter Tage der Fotografie, 2006   back to index

Self-Image - a Step Inside

A large part of the main exhibit show photographs that initially originated in the desire of the artist to understand their own biography and its' meaning, but the definitions often went well beyond that. The quality of the work shown is characterised not only by intuitive themes, but also reflective ones, such as loneliness, fear and disappointment or closeness and desire.


The Austrian photographer, Christoph Burtscher, who has aids, photographed his wounds and pill boxes. The images seem distant and factual, only the dead flower bouquets show his fear of dying.

Nathalie Latham is from Australia and lives in Paris. In her diary, that combines metaphorical images with text, she takes us to Los Angeles. After her arrival, she quickly lost her newfound lover.

Claudia Rorarius' images are hinges that connect her childhood memories to the present. The German photographer captures friends, family and meaningful places in insightful snapshots.

Elinor Carruci, Spencer Murphy and Dona Schwartz devote themselves to the topic of family. Elinor Carruci is Israeli and lives in New York City. Her photos are an intimate diary and give us impartial insight into how she leaves her loving mother to set off on her own. We see carefully composed portraits, self-portraits and symbolicallyloaded still-lifes.

The British photographer, Spencer Murphy, on the other hand has an extremely complicated relationship to his parents. Spencer shows feelings and scenes from his unhappy childhood in dark images. His models are his mother, father, stepfather, stepbrother, himself and his dog.

The American photographer, Dona Schwartz shows her new patchwork family in a long-term project and that exclusively in her kitchen. Her three children, the three children of her new partner, her partner and friends are shown cooking, eating and talking.

Besides autobiographically motivated images, the main exhibit also shows photographs of artists that reinvent themselves for the camera. They construct one or more self-images that provide the viewer with an emotional projection surface for feelings and thoughts. Conceptional thoughts of self image and identity is the motivating factor.

The Dutch photographer, Marnix Goossens presents himself in an unspectacular half portrait in front of the camera. Like a building kit, he puts together characters and captures their roles in a photo. He photographs himself without a moustache, then with one, without a wig, then with a wig.

Time and again, the Swiss photographer, Chantal Michel reinvents herself as an artificial figure. Here she is wearing a wig, corset and has stuffed herself into a sausage-skin like pantyhose. Left to her own devices, she poses assimilated – like an object – in a Spartan space. Nevertheless, she presents herself as strong and fierce.

Self portraits are usually produced by people who push the release button or give instructions to do so. The German photographers, Jens Sundheim and Bernhard Reuss have found a new way; they let themselves be photographed from stationary webcams around the world. One is in front of the camera and the other observes online, directing him into a good position. He then makes the portrait with a screen shot and extracts it from the internet.

Richard Billingham and André Rival complete the challenging programme with lectures about their work. Enno Kaufhold will give a talk on Annegret Soltau, Bernd Neugebauer about Hervé Guibert. Celina Lunsford will view the topic of self-image as compared in the work of female photographers.

(c) Ute Noll curator

text: introduction by Ute Noll