Stephan Keppel’s contribution harks back to a sojourn in New York in the autumn of 2015, where he meandered through the city with Taco Hidde Bakker, the author of the essay accompanying his contribution. The urban and the semi-urban have long been the focus of his interest—the urban periphery, which he, however, does not conceive spatially, but rather as a state of order that vertically permeates the entire city space. The ornamental-banal, the random, the scorned—all are found as urban texture in any given place. As Taco Hidde Bakker writes: “Everything is bound to end up as a story, a movie, a book. Nowadays, for sure, everything flows into pictures,” that is, in a process of transformation, translation, reorganisation, and restructuring.
These moments of processing and reworking the photographic are evident in all works by the artists introduced here: it is the image that, with Keppel, potentially becomes text; or with Specker, potentially becomes film; or with Alexi-Meskhishvili, potentially becomes a montage of visual materials; or with Bizumic, potentially becomes the material of a political history of the image. In most instances, everything is openly revealed and is also complexly enriched by the materiality of the representation and related contexts. The contemporaneity of the photographic image perhaps lies in this capacity for enrichment and charging of its numerous surfaces, whether analogue or digital, or, as usual, in a rather undefined zone of transition between the two.
So this issue of Camera Austria International also deals with transgressions, transformations, superimpositions, with passing over from one side to the next. It is for this reason that we decided to reproduce the cover of a book on our magazine cover. Heidi Specker’s re-prise takes the book Ci-Contre by Moï Wer from the early 1930s as a template for channelling her own images into this design. To us, this appropriation and, at times, this overwriting as a magazine cover appears to get to the heart of this ambivalence in terms of the fragility of what is shown, and what we can expect of photography.