Author: Art Narratives Staff

“The most difficult part of the creation process is after having photographed and being home again, to select the right pictures and find a good order. In this process everything is possible. Sometimes you need to kill your darlings to make the whole story work. The whole effect of the series has a higher value than the sum of the single picture. I spent about a month abroad in California. If you go out every day and take pictures, there are quite a few when you return home. The difficult part is to reduce it and find a selection that works. Even though you have to kick out pictures you like to make the whole story work for itself.”

Dream for Sale by Martin Lamberty (4/4)

“Dream for Sale is a story about people living in a lost place. Salton Sea, in the midst of a desert, is a saltlake surrounded by a hostile environment. Originally, the Salton Sink was a part of the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. It was separated by sediments of the Colorado River. Thus, Lake Cahuilla was created. Due to the climate it dried up hundred of years ago. In 1905 a dam of the Colorado River broke. For two years the river changed its course and emptied itself into the deepest point of the Salton Sink. The largest lake of California, Salton Sea, was born.”

Dream for Sale by Martin Lamberty (2/4)

“The first photographs that strongly inspired and encouraged me in what I was doing were Thomas Struth’s street pictures. Being an autodidact without formal education, it was all trial and error for him in the beginning. His street picture series, stretching from his home region of North Rhine-Westfalia over New York to Tokyo and Shanghai, intuitively felt right to me as it was neither sensationalistic nor exploiting some superficial exoticism, but felt true and authentic.

It may not come as a surprise, but I feel at home when looking at works from Wright Morris, Walker Evans or William Eggleston. There is a whole tradition of photography discovering the man-made environment we are living in, and I feel like being part of it. Another school of street photography, exemplified by Henri Cartier-Bresson, is following a more journalistic drive, focusing on humans in everyday situations, and while I like that as well, it is nothing that I would like to do myself.”

Tokyo Radiant by Philipp Zechner (4/4)

“As a highly developed country, Japan is well prepared for the natural disasters that frequently strike its islands – earthquakes, typhoons and (in some regions) volcanic eruptions. So even large-scale earthquakes such as the one striking the Niigata region in 2004 claim relatively few lives – back then, only around 100 people died, while in a less developed country an earthquake of the same size would have left thousands of people dead. So people have learned to live with the constant threat and have maybe developed a sense of security, especially in urban regions where infrastructure is good and most buildings are recent. But the Great Eastern Earthquake of 2011 shattered that sense, since its tsunami (not the quake itself) caused destruction beyond any imagination. Flood walls could not resist the masses of water, and the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant demonstrated that the planning of the plant had not taken into account such an event. Any country would have been shocked by a catastrophe of this size, but in Japan with its high level of engineering and its faith in technology to solve problems, the shock was probably bigger as everyone would have assumed to be sufficiently prepared and therefore safe. The confusion around the nuclear meltdown and the fact that radiation is invisible surely contributed to the overall anxiety, as no one was really sure about the long-term consequences. While people have widely been indifferent to where their energy comes from, an anti-nuclear movement supported by wide parts of the populations has established in the years following the catastrophe.”

Tokyo Radiant by Philipp Zechner (2/4)

“I am mostly influenced by daily life and personal encounters. Taking a walk can mean a lot in that sense. Next to that I also enjoy the work of others. I got the chance to follow a master class with artist Renzo Martens which offered me a critical view on the contemporary art scene. I was also thrilled to look at the ‘natural complexity’ of Mikhael Subotzky’s work, the use of different techniques by Richard Mosse and the softness of Vivianne Sassen.

It’s a pleasure to experience authentic work. In the first stage, I can be attracted by humour, mystery, tragedy or purely aesthetics. However, in order to stay in my mind, a work should show a certain degree of sincerity and playfulness with the borders of the medium and question our society.”

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life by Tomas Bachot (4/4)

“During the 1950’s major touristic development plans existed for Salton Sea. Investors became interested, infrastructure was built, even celebrities took part in its promotion. Plenty of lots were sold and the area experienced a great boom. Many people from the surrounding cities like Los Angeles or San Diego spent their vacations at the lake. Boat races became popular and a sport fishing scene was established due to best weather conditions and a broad variety of marine life. There were numerous motels and even a golf court. An ever-growing number of celebrities from Hollywood attracted more and more people.

The idyll did not last long, however. In the mid-1970’s two tropical storms swept across the area. Since Salton Sea does not have an outlet they bursted its banks considerably. Many buildings close to the shore were flooded and essentially destroyed. The initial elation to create a French Rivera in California was ruined.”

Dream for Sale by Martin Lamberty (3/4)

“The largest lake in California has a person thinking of lush green landscapes with a rich flora and fauna. It was the desert-like surroundings that struck me most when I first arrived there. Ruinous houses everywhere, old piers indicate former water levels, stranded boats now only fit for scrap, inhabitants that seem a lot less euphoric than the postcards from the 1950’s promised. Wandering around in this wasteland words like desolate and barren come to mind. Why do people hold on to this place? For what reason do they stay and fight against nature although there is no recovery in sight?”

Dream for Sale by Martin Lamberty (1/4)

“In order to capture the sense of insecurity and eeriness I felt in Tokyo in 2012, I experimented with different styles and techniques – monochrome pictures with harsh contrasts or shots with high sensitivity to bump up the graininess. One day, I discovered a modified digital camera where the filter to block IR rays had been removed and purchased it. After taking a couple of shots, I knew I had found my medium for this series. These infrared photographs show an everyday world that has changed its colour, its aesthetics reminding of early photographic prints, x-rays or psychedelic visions of the 60s. They thus capture the ambiance of Japan’s capital in a personal, artistic vision and connect to my earlier works by displaying the seemingly known and ordinary world in a different light.”

Tokyo Radiant by Philipp Zechner (3/4)

“‘Tokyo Radiant’ is a series of photos shot in Tokyo in 2012 and 2013, using a digital camera modified to capture infrared light. While portraying the Japanese capital in a street photography style, it also seeks to convey the particular atmosphere I encountered when moving back there.

I had lived and worked in Japan between 2004 and 2007, so when returning to Tokyo for a job in 2012 I immediately felt a change in behavior, in the attitude that had taken place. Gone was the optimism that always had kept the country on course, even in the face of natural disasters that frequently strike the archipelago. Fear and uncertainty had spread, putting the nation in a sort of zombie mode where everyone kept on with his daily life without knowing what tomorrow would bring. My initial impression was confirmed in talks with friends and strangers. Explaining everything with the tragic events in 2011, where the Great Eastern Earthquake with its tsunami and the subsequent nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant had shaken the country, would probably mean to oversimplify, but the catastrophe had sure taken its toll on Japan, making it less light-hearted than it used to be.”

Tokyo Radiant by Philipp Zechner (1/4)

“My meetings with the people who hosted me, as well as the people I met on the street were as important as the photography process itself. For example, in the village of Certeju de Sus I always looked forward to play soccer with the kids on the sandy courtyard between the communist blocks and for the dinner with Macovei family who welcomed me each time in their home to eat together. These small things made me feel connected with the local community. I never photographed my hosts because I wanted to be there for them, first of all as a human being, not as a photographer. Often I feel that by photographing I take something from people. Getting closer to photograph as a human is one of my major concerns.”

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life by Tomas Bachot (3/4)