During the first lockdown in 2020, I was looking for ways to stay creative and in touch with my fellow human beings despite very limited options and the need for social distancing. On Instagram, I discovered the idea of using videocalls as a medium for collaborations. From the beginning, I was excited by the challenge of implementing my style of photography in this way. And during the planning and the first attempt with Gilberto, another creative mind in front of and behind the camera, it became apparent that many things were similar to my „regular shootings“. We both had fun experimenting with this idea and trying to achieve some good results. I think we both learned a lot that helped us with the following collabs via videocall.
The biggest difference was that the person in front of the camera was now in charge of most of the practical work. This person had to align the camera, adjust the light and do many other small things that otherwise tend to be the photographer’s responsibility. However, the communication, the fun and also the creative exchange was almost the same despite the distance. Of course, screenshots are not comparable to using a camera. The overall quality of those images is limited by various factors like screen resolution, wifi connection or image compression by the videocall service but I think it fits so well with the generally limited possibilities during the pandemic. Whether in Gilberto’s or Tabea’s living room, in Nae’s hallway and kitchen, or in Nicole’s attic, it was exciting to implement different ideas in this way. I found it particularly exciting to work with ideas in the context of the pandemic, feelings of loneliness, monotony, emptiness and isolation.
I also got into conversation with Markus Schellhorn about this topic on Facebook and he invited me to participate in an article for the magazine „c’T“. The article was to include numerous images from my shootings and my thoughts on this form of photography. We conducted an interview for this purpose, of course also appropriately via videocall. In addition to technical requirements, my personal approach and my thoughts, we also touched on the topic of whether this is actually still photography. This I also still find an exciting topic, because with the increasing number of images created in this way, more and more controversial discussions have arisen. From photographic purists to advocates of this method of taking pictures, everyone had an opinion and the comment boxes were like minefields at times.
Personally, I see it pragmatically, new technical possibilities allow new ideas and new approaches. Of course I still prefer to take pictures in personal contact and with a real camera in my hand. But I don’t want to limit myself even more in these restricted times and forgo those creative collaborations just because some purists think anything more modern than using wet plates is no longer photography. Even regardless of the pandemic, this is a great way to collaborate with people over greater distances and get creative together. And it is a exciting challenge (at least for me) to create something interesting with such limited possibilities. So i am still open for new collabs via videocall even if i can get back to shooting outdoor in and around Berlin.