Monday, July 27, 2009

AUT 30 - A Reflection

When travelling your own country as a photographer you face several problems: one of them is the fact that you are yourself part of what you want to photograph. Thus it needs a certain emancipation from what you see and what you are, an emancipation from your own identity as Austrian.
Before I started I assumed that it would not be to hard too take the position of a tourist and develop a way of seing that could be described as being astonished by the familiar. On the one hand this tourist's view can provide new insight, on the other it faces the danger of focusing on sights, cliches and other randomness which has nothing to do with peoples lives here. But the question remains, what actually is random: are platforms that provide tourists with beautiful vistas random and don't have anything to do with the livs of Austrians? I don't think so because after all this country is impregnated with tourism.. On the other hand i didn't want to end up with a body of work like Peter Granser's Austria (find the link at the end of this txt) who could as well have titled his work "Tourism in Austria" (but didn't do so)

Sometimes achieving the perspective of a stranger worked, especially in regions i didn't visit before, where i was in fact a tourist; but also at places I wasn't so familiar with e.g. housing areas at the outskirts of towns. Sometimes it didnt work, especially in surroundings that i was too familiar with (which i tried to avoid in general) or, at the end of the trip, in the 100th small provincial town. This can also be seen in the Austrians series; the places i havent seen before provided the best results (visually), the images i took at places i was familiar with, sometimes have the notion of a certain randomness.

However i will have to keep up that astonished notion during the editing process (probably the most important thing when it comes to digital photography).
In the last three months i took over 15 000 images. I tried to avoid cliches as far as possible; thus the outcome will be no collection of Almöhi images, although you will find one or two in the final selection. Neither will it be an assembly of beautiful landscape images, although there will be four or five in the series. It will not be held together by a strict narrative; it will be a collection of places, persons, things and moods that excerted a strong visual and symbolic impact on me. I think the in large parts it will prove to be a very quiet collection, not too many WOW images, "Betracht - Bilder" instead of "Gebrauchs - Bilder".

I am aware of the fact (as i pointed out in the concept or the Austrians series) that it is impossible to capture the essence of this country in summertime only. Therefore i am striving to find the possibility to continue my journey in winter. But i am also convinced that you can show a certain side of this country by only photographing it in summer. I am guilty of the fact that i have not taken one image on a campsite though. Hopefully i have the chance to do so in the coming weeks.

Next entry: The Pfaender

Peter Granser (a German photographer) did a roadtrip in Austria 7 years ago. His findings were published as a series in the Datum magazine. You can find them online at

I think my final collection will look different than his. But i really enjoy his images as well. And he photographed one Austrian, which i have in my collection as well.


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frames is Florian Rainer's personal collection of photographs, photography related webtipps and writings. frames is focussing on documentary and artistic strategies in photography.

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