Thursday, 20 August 2009

Book - Ortszeit


A book about time is always something difficult. While time is passing the book stays, could be the metaphor.
The book I chose today is different. It talks about the passage of time and this not very quietly. But instead with a very loud bang although the photographs are very quiet and empty they scream - time.

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Image by UrbanTick - Ortszeit - Local Time - Zittau, Store-House, 06/1990 and 09/2001

Ortszeit - Localtime is a photoessay by Stefan Koppelkamm with an essay by Ludger Derenthal. The photographer and designer Koppelkamm has after approximately ten years revisited sites he had photographed earlier. Mainly this is around 1990 for the first shot and around 2001 for the following up shot of the same scene or better location.
It is all about the vintage point. To access the same location again after such a long time can be quite challenging and some spot must have been inaccessible.

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Image by UrbanTick - Ortszeit - Local Time - Potsdam, Park Babelsberg, view of the Gliencker Bruecke, 08/1991 and 04/2002

Portrayed are a number of key buildings from cities and towns of former DDR shortly after the fall of the wall. An obvious subject for a few people thinking ahead. And it proofs right. It is more than a book about photographs and time. It is a social document about the world we live in and not last about the city as a body. Germany struggled and still is with its history of separation and the reunion in 1989. THe process is long and multi layered, it is not only about time.

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Image by UrbanTick - Ortszeit - locatime - Goerlitz, Gruener Graben, 06/1990 and 09/2001

On might expect that change over ten year would be dramatic and towards improvement. But while flipping tough the book it emerges, that actually the interesting images are not the ones that show progress from an economic perspective. Change lives in small details of materials and light. The photographer pays great attention to erase all trace of change of technology, especially in terms of the final product. This helps to focus on the scene and lets the image speak about what’s happened. Features in the images are talking. For example accessories such as cars transport a clear image with atmosphere. But on the other hand you get the funny scene, where everything has changed except from the spacial configuration and the bin on the street corner.

Koppelkamm, S., 2006. Ortszeit = Local Time, Stuttgart: Edition Axel Menges.

There is a section on the book’s website for photographs that are not in the book. Some brilliant images can be see there online. There is also a short interview, the author was interviewed by Christina Tillmann, Der Tagesspiegel.

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