On Censorship and Images Removed From Visual Culture - Auswahl und Zensur im Bildjournalismus
Hanns-Jörg Anders » Günter Hildenhagen » Ryūichi Hirokawa » Thomas Hoepker » Sirah Foighel Brutmann & Eitan Efrat » & others
Exhibition: – 25 Nov 2018
Thu 7 Jun 16:00
Museum Kunst & Gewerbe
Tue-Sun 10-18, Thu 10-21
Selection and Censorship in Photojournalism
8 June – 25 November 2018
An Exhibition for the 7th Triennial of Photography Hamburg
The exhibition "DELETE" at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) explores the production conditions under which photojournalists work and the selection processes their photographs go through before they are printed in journals and magazines. How do publishers, editors, authors, and graphic designers influence the photographers’ work and the expressive force of their pictures? What requirements do the commissioned reports have to fulfill? How much control over the interpretation of the resulting images are photographers willing to cede to the editorial department? What mechanisms determine which photos are shown and which never see the light of day? What then ends up being remembered, and what is forgotten? Guided by these questions, the MKG takes a closer look at four reportages in its collection spanning the years from 1968 to 1983. On view are some 60 reportage photographs, four photospreads from the magazines Stern, Playboy, Kristall, and Der Bote für die evangelische Frau, and four interview films made for the exhibition in which the photographers speak about their experiences. By comparing and contrasting the published photospreads with the original contact sheets as well as with the pictures selected by the photographers for the museum collection, and based on the photographers’ own accounts, viewers can discover the background behind the selection process, how journalists work, and what scope photographers are given to exercise their own creative judgement.
The historical works by Thomas Hoepker, Ryūichi Hirokawa, Günter Hildenhagen, and Hanns-Jörg Anders are supplemented by a contemporary art film by Sirah Foighel Brutmann and Eitan Efrat that illuminates the selectivity of memory from an artistic perspective. The exhibition "DELETE" is part of the 7th Triennial of Photography Hamburg, which is taking place from 8 June until 25 November 2018 under the motto Breaking Point.
The four historical reportages deal with such diverse themes as the situation of blacks in the USA around 1963, the escalation of the conflict in Northern Ireland in 1969, the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut in 1982, and the relationship of a disabled homosexual couple in a care facility from 1976 to 1999. These topics have lost nothing of their pertinence today – we need only think of the continuing racial conflicts in the USA, the renewed concerns about Northern Ireland with the prospect of the Brexit, or the treatment of the physically and mentally disabled. The exhibition does not aim to delve in depth into the complex historical incidents pictured, however, but rather to shed light on the power structures that determine what we remember about them. According to Michel Foucault, it is the limitations of the speakable that establish and define the discourse on what a society remembers and what is forgotten. The focus of the exhibition is thus on the mechanisms and processes of image selection and exclusion, with the aim of sensitizing viewers to just how selective the contents of media reporting really are.
Thomas Hoepker (b. 1936) presents an epoch-making photo report on the USA, which he put together in the autumn of 1963 for the magazine Kristall. Several of his photos show black children growing up in poverty and desolation. Hoepker thus addresses racial segregation, one of the most pressing social problems facing the USA, and yet hardly any space was devoted to this issue in the photospreads printed across a total of 56 pages in six issues of Kristall during the year 1964. Although in the interview Hoepker describes selecting photos for the magazine as a collaborative effort between the author, photographer, and picture editors, the editor-in-chief always had the last word. The reportage photos that Hoepker handed over to MKG reflect his consuming interest in the situation of blacks in America. This discrepancy illustrates how events and situations may be evaluated very differently by photographers and editorial departments, and shows that photographers, although working on commission, view themselves as independent authors with their own agenda.
Hanns-Jörg Anders (b. 1942) documented for Stern magazine the escalation of violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland in 1969. He was working as a staff photographer for the magazine and largely left the selection of images for the report up to the picture editors. Anders’s colleague Gilles Caron took the rolls of film he had shot to Paris and sent them from there to the magazine in Hamburg. By the time Anders returned from his trip, the picture editors at Stern had already selected three photos for publication. The report focused on the street fighting in Belfast and Londonderry, showing demonstrators throwing stones, smoke, and heavily armed policemen – visuals that have dominated media coverage from the Prague Spring to the G20 summit. The photos in which Anders documented the social consequences of the civil war were passed over. Among them was the image We Want Peace, which Anders only discovered while subsequently reviewing his contact sheets, submitting it that same year to the World Press Photo Award contest. The picture shows a man wearing a gas mask leaning against a dark wall which is emblazoned with large white letters spelling "We Want Peace." The photo won the award and is today an iconic image expressing the despair of people caught up in civil wars. In the interview film, Anders looks back on photojournalists’ work process in the days of analogue photography and the pre-eminence of the picture editors. As the exposed film was often not developed until it reached the editorial departments, photographers had no way of reviewing their own shots on site and thus no say in the selection of motifs for publication.
The Japanese journalist Ryūichi Hirokawa (b. 1943) photographed the scenes of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut on his own initiative, bringing to light the murder of hundreds of Palestinian refugees during the Lebanese Civil War. Hirokawa portrayed desperate survivors but mainly focused his lens on the numerous corpses strewn across the streets. He confronts the viewer with shocking images of the maimed faces and bodies of the victims. His report thus raises a question that still remains unanswered today: What role should be given in media coverage to photos that are meant to shock, and what should or must one be willing to expose viewers to? Hirokawa attaches great importance to retaining control over his images. He therefore decided against selling these photos to the Associated Press agency so that he could choose for himself how they would be used and published. Hirokawa’s Israel-critical photos were published in Yomiuri Shimbun, one of the most widely read Japanese daily papers at the time, in the magazine Shagaku, and in the Japanese Playboy.
Günter Hildenhagen (b. 1935) has been active as a freelance photojournalist since the mid-1960s, taking photos at hospitals, care facilities, and charitable organizations. He concentrates on portraits of individuals and images showing people relating to one another on equal terms. In 1976, the Wittekindshof, a care facility for the physically and mentally disabled, hired Hildenhagen and the journalist Maria Urbanczyk to portray the institute. Among the residents of the home, the photographer’s attention was drawn especially to a deaf Iranian named Mehri and his partner Karlheinz, who suffered from spastic paralysis. The two men had been living at the Wittekindshof since their youth and had become friends in the late 1950s, and ultimately also lovers. Hildenhagen was fascinated by how the friends had found their own form of communication, which remained incomprehensible to outsiders. He put these strengths and the personal story of his subjects at the center of his reportage, thus going far beyond what his contemporaries were generally willing to acknowledge about disabled people, their abilities, their needs, and their sexuality. Unable to find a magazine willing to publish his story, Hildenhagen chose the exhibition format as a way to present his pictorial account to the public.
The artist duo Sirah Foighel Brutmann (b. 1983) and Eitan Efrat (b. 1983) explore in their film Printed Matter (2011) the archive of the press photographer André Brutmann (1947–2002), who worked in Israel and Palestine from the early 1980s until 2002. On the basis of contact sheets and negatives that are placed one after the other on a light table, the viewer learns in chronological order of the events of the years 1982 to 2002. The material gives us an in-depth look at the day-to-day work of a photojournalist. The documented events range from politicians’ speeches, to fashion shows, to the battles of the first and second Intifadas in Israel (1987–1993, 2000–2005) and the assas-sination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. In the film, André Brutmann’s partner Hanna Foighel comments on the contact sheets, which are repeatedly interrupted by pictures of family life. Political history is thus interwoven with the private realm. The film presents the photographer as a chronicler of the times but at the same time questions the notion of the photojournalist as a neutral observer, underlining how he is wrapped up in both his own private life and the events of the day.
About the 7th Triennial of Photography Hamburg 2018: The 7th Triennial of Photography Hamburg 2018 will take place from June to September in cooperation with Hamburg’s major museums, cultural institutions, galleries, and other organizers. Under the motto Breaking Point. Searching for Change, the festival reflects on current environmental, social, political, and economic changes from the vantage point of photography. The 7th Triennial will be accompanied by artist talks, expert discussions, lectures, and portfolio viewings. The opening week will be celebrated from 7 – 17 June 2018 with an extensive supporting program. Further information on all exhibitions and the program can be found at http://www.phototriennale.de/en/.
The catalogue for the 7th Triennial of Photography Hamburg, titled Breaking Point. Searching for Change, is being published by Hartmann Books, with contributions by Krzysztof Candrowicz and others, 352 pages, approx. 300 illustrations, German/English, 20 x 27 cm, hardcover with dust jacket, ISBN: 978-3-96070-020-3, 39 EUR.
"DELETE. Auswahl und Zensur im Bildjournalismus"
Ausstellung: 8. Juni bis 25. November 2018
Eine Ausstellung zur 7. Triennale der Photographie Hamburg
Das Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) untersucht mit der Ausstellung "DELETE" die Produktionsbedingungen und Auswahlprozesse, die ein Bild durchläuft, bevor Zeitschriften und Magazine es drucken. Wie wird die Arbeit der Fotografen und die Aussagekraft ihrer Bilder durch Herausgeber, Redakteure, Autoren und Grafiker beeinflusst? Unter welchen Auftragsbedingungen entstehen ihre Reportagen? Wieviel ihrer Deutungshoheit sind Fotografen bereit an die Redaktionen abzugeben? Welche Mechanismen entscheiden darüber, welche Aufnahmen gezeigt werden und welche unsichtbar bleiben? Was wird erinnert, was wird vergessen?
Geleitet von diesen Fragen nimmt das MKG vier Reportagen aus der Zeit von 1968 bis 1983 aus seinen Beständen in den Blick. Gezeigt werden rund 60 Reportagefotografien, vier Bildstrecken aus den Zeitschriften Stern, Playboy, Kristall und Der Bote für die evangelische Frau und vier für die Ausstellung entstandene Interviewfilme, in denen die Fotografen selbst zu Wort kommen. Durch die Gegenüberstellung der gedruckten Bildstrecken, der Kontaktbögen, der von den Fotografen für die Museumssammlung ausgewählten Bilder und ihrer erzählten Erinnerung erfahren die Betrachter Hintergründe über die Auswahlprozesse, die Arbeitsbedingungen der Journalisten, über das Anliegen der Fotografen und ihren gestalterischen Freiraum.
Die vier historischen Reportagen behandeln so unterschiedliche Themen wie die Lage der Afroamerikaner in den USA um 1963, die Eskalation des Nordirlandkonflikts 1969, das Massaker von Sabra und Schatila in Beirut 1982 und die Beziehung eines behinderten, homosexuellen Paares in einer Pflegeeinrichtung von 1976 bis 1999. Die Themen haben nicht an Aktualität verloren, wie etwa der Blick auf die anhaltenden Rassenkonflikte in den USA, auf die vor dem Hintergrund des Brexit neu aufkeimende Sorge um Nordirland oder auf den Umgang mit körperlich bzw. psychisch beeinträchtigten Menschen zeigt. Es geht in der Ausstellung jedoch nicht darum, die komplexen historischen Ereignisse darzustellen, sondern darum, die Machtstrukturen in den Blick zu nehmen, die bestimmen, was erinnert wird. Nach Michel Foucault sind es die Regeln des Sagbaren, die den Diskurs bestimmen und definieren, was eine Gesellschaft erinnert und was vergessen wird. Der Fokus der Ausstellung liegt darauf, die Mechanismen und Prozesse der Bildauswahl offenzulegen und dafür zu sensibilisieren, wie selektiv die Inhalte in der medialen Berichterstattung sind.