Features

Heinz Peter Knes

The photographic image is often understood as a weapon. It is and has always been a crucial means of creating identity-forming representations. Public debate about social processes is (or has become) impossible without pictures. Industries seek a sovereignty of interpretation, in determining how something should look they also work on its permanent optimization.

Heinz Peter Knes
since then never again so good, 2013/2021
All images Courtesy by the artist

Today, a political situation is explained via the affect of images. Today a person is an image effect, often even participating in their own image making. Though it is in the nature of photography that it is always just one of countless ways of looking at things. Nothing is really proven by a picture, there is always another angle.
As an image producer, this status of the image as always-partial-document can only be dealt with if representation as a critical question is part of the production, i. e. takes place in the act of the image. Art historian Horst Bredekamp has pointed out the importance of the act (Bildakt) in connection with the photos of Abu Ghraib (2004). It is about the circumstances of the creation of the picture: How was the picture created? With what motivation? For what purpose? This picture act only comes to an end when the picture has reached the recipient (the public). What does the picture want from me? What am I prepared to give to it? So in this process of making a photograph there is an ethics to talk about. The picture does not so much reveal evidence as reveal a true limitation. Something that is only possible in the picture as an act together with its formal expression and never in reality. But reality, ideally, can be enriched with something true. And today that ideal (truth) can only be seen in what is flawed, in what is partially true. Mistake as opportunity, mistake as beauty, mistake as revelation.
What is categorized in pictorial representation remains this forever. However, what is decisive is that the overcoming of this determination already takes place in the picture. Whether distributed via social media or in the gallery, the picture act from me to you, from picture taker to public, presents and overwhelms the image. One could also speak of resurrection.

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