El Paso, Texas

It is a bit late, but actually it does not matter for what I have to say, as unimportant as it may be. To photograph people, places and things, as unassuming and banal of an act that is nowadays, sometimes leads to images which carry more than what they show. There is something delicate and fragile in this group of young people, partially owed to their age and the place they find themselves in their lives while I took their image. The preparations for their Quinceañera, they are at a crossroads of their life.


The picture was taken 15 years ago and I assume that by today most of the kids on this photograph have become parents themselves. I try to imagine how they talked and felt and how they have tried to explain to their own kids what happened inside one of their malls and shopping places. And how different it must feel for them to be on the other side of . . . being the target of a madman sanctified by another madman, different from us who just see another mass shooting, another crazy tale from the America we think we know.

Enquète Photographique Fribourgeoise

Ich freue mich auf diese Arbeit von der ich nicht sicher bin, wohin sie mich führen wird. Seit langem wieder einmal etwas vor der Haustür. Das habe ich immer als schwieriger und anstrengender empfunden. Aber ich freue mich auf die Herausforderung, die vielen Begegnungen und die daraus entstehenden Geschichten. Zu lesen, sich hinsetzen, sich ein paar Gedanken machen und diese aufzuschreiben hat sich wieder einmal ausbezahlt.

Freiburg, 3. Juli 2019


Die zwölfte "Fotografische Ermittlung: Thema Freiburg" wird sich mit den unauffälligen Menschen unseres Kantons befassen

Die Jury betraut Thomas Kern mit der 12. Ausgabe der "Fotografischen Ermittlung: Thema Freiburg". Sie hat sein Projekt unter den 22 eingegangenen Bewerbungen ausgewählt. Der Aargauer Fotograf wird sich in seiner Arbeit mit den unauffälligen Menschen in der heutigen Freiburger Gesellschaft befassen. 

Nach der Ausschreibung der 12. "Fotografischen Ermittlung: Thema Freiburg" hat das Amt für Kultur 22 Projekte aus der Schweiz und dem Ausland erhalten. Die eingereichten Projekte wurden von einer Jury geprüft. Diese bestand aus den Fotografen Nicolas Savary und Matthieu Gafsou, Ivan Mariano, dem Direktor des Museums Murten, Romano Zerbini, dem Direktor der Photobastei Zürich, sowie Philippe Trinchan, dem Vorsteher des Amts für Kultur des Staates Freiburg (Präsident). 

Nach mehreren Beratungsrunden fiel der Entschied der Jury auf das Projekt "Begegnungen oder Gespräche unterwegs" von Thomas Kern. Thomas Kern, der in den vergangenen Jahren als Fotograf vor allem international gearbeitet hat, wird eine offene Serie von Porträts unauffälliger Menschen in der heutigen Freiburger Gesellschaft fotografieren. Es handelt sich dabei um Menschen, die wir zwar täglich sehen, aber oft gleich wieder vergessen – Menschen, die aus unserem Gesichtsfeld verschwinden, deren Eigenschaften, besondere Merkmale oder Fähigkeiten schwer zu beschreiben sind. Das Ziel dieser Porträtserie ist, ein tief empfundenes, in der Gegenwart fest verankertes Zeitdokument zu schaffen. Das Ergebnis dieser 12. Ausgabe wird in einer Publikation und in einer Ausstellung präsentiert.


Again - Beauty in Photography

Noch einmal ein paar Worte zu diesem Buch, das zugegebenermassen aus der Vergangenheit kommt, sich bei genauerer Lektüre aber dennoch aktuell zeigt. Auf jeden Fall zu empfehlen zur Auffrischung einiger grundlegender Fragen - jenseits des aktuellen postmodernen, poststrukturalistischen, postfotografischen Diskurses.

Der Begriff Beauty im Titel ist natürlich provokativ gewählt und führt uns (aus heutiger Sicht) auch schnell mal auf eine falsche Fährte.

“There are reasons, of course, for the loss of a sense of community among photographers. For one thing, there are too many of us, and, as we go without work, the numbers who teach photography rise, and then they go unemployed too. The money problem sours a lot. Not long ago I discovered that it would be possible for me to earn an adequate living by lecturing about photography; at the same time I knew thai it remained impossible to survive by photography, by doing what I was lecturing about. Irony of this sort does not sweeten life. “


Der zweite Textauschnitt is eine mögliche Antwort auf die Unsicherheiten eines Bachelor Studenten, der gerade eben seine Diplomarbeit zeigt. Der Künstler versteht sich zwar nicht als Fotograf, bezeichnet die Fotografie aber dennoch als das Medium seiner Wahl, lamentiert dann aber gleich weiter und beklagt sich über die Beschränkungen und Grenzen der Fotografie (an die er schon gestossen ist, nachdem er sich erst seit kurzem mit dem Medium auseinandersetzt), die er aber auch nicht genauer benennen kann.

“The first thing to be remembered is that all art, even Wagnerian efforts like motion pictures, operates within limits, and that attempts to push back those limits, attempts typical of our naive age, have not proved to be very liberating or durable. Most paintings of the first rank are still two dimensional, most sculptures are still without sound, and most novels remain unillustrated. What this suggests to me is that the limits of art may contribute to its strength and that they are not to be regretted but much to be used. “

Photography marches onward . . .

Here’s a small and life affirming snippet from ProPHOTODaily. I wonder what to do about it.

This week we spotlighted a new report about falling sales in the camera market — due in no small part to the rise in smartphone photography. According to the report from the Camera & Imaging Products Association, 34.7 percent fewer camera systems shipped in February 2019 than February 2018. Digital Camera World called the drop a “freefall.” Shipments of interchangeable lens cameras were down to just 521,217 – over a quarter of a million fewer cameras than were shipped (798,014) in the same period last year.

A new list of the 25 worst professions now, with “Photographer” ranked at number 25

On top of that, the 24/7 Wall St. website released a list of the 25 worst professions now, based on data from CareerCast’s 2018 Jobs Rated Report and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Photographer” came in at number 25 due to diminishing employment prospects and falling wages, both of which, noted the website, can be traced to … the rise of smartphone photography.

Northern Ireland/LyraMcKee/Brexit/30Years/SeamusDuffy

This time it’s a recent post by old time friend Tomo which sent me a bit down memory lane, into the archive but also to catch up with some reading about the recent death of the journalist Lyra McKee. Ms McKee, 29, was shot in the head on Thursday night, 18. April 2019 while observing rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate. In a statement given to the press the New IRA offered "full and sincere apologies" to her family and friends.

The peace that has settled on Northern Ireland since 1998 remains a chilly one in the hearts of the former combatants. But peace it was, more or less. The border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, has become a flashpoint for the argument over Brexit within the ruling British Conservative Party, between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and among Catholics and Protestants in the north. Like everything else in the north, Brexit has become an issue separated along republican and loyalist lines, many things have become a green and orange issue again. 

Round Baton 1.5 " (rubber bullet), Imperial War Museum

Round Baton 1.5 " (rubber bullet), Imperial War Museum

Tomo’s story is a glimpse of working in Northern Ireland as photojournalists 30 years ago. I don’t know where he got the thing about the tampered rubber bullet, I could not find any conformation for this, and if it was true, I am sure it would have been all over the Republican reporting about this case. Still, Seamus Duffy was only 15, his heart stopped beating because of the rubber Bullet. It’s true, we were there. 

I am not sure how fitting the juxtaposition of the two deaths is. Tragic they both certainly are, and not only because of the young age of the two victims. However, the perpetrators couldn’t have been more different. 

Funeral of Seamus Duffy, August 1989

Funeral of Seamus Duffy, August 1989

“The killing of 29 year old Irish Journalist Lyra Mckee reminded me to my own skirmish with death in Northern Ireland ... it was 1989, Thomas Kern and I traveled to Belfast to cover the 20th Anniversary of the British Occupation, they call it the Troubles. It was a glorious time for Photojournalism, we were kids, green behind the ears - ready to take on the world. Working alongside some of the most fascinating photographers of our time - I remember, just getting acknowledged by the likes of Chris Steele-Perkins and Gilles Perres walking down on Falls or Shankill Road, was such a fucking thrill - Thomas and I stayed at a Youth Hostel. Belfast was where we came to photograph Urban Warfare for the first time - I mean that's pretty much what happened between the IRA and the British Army, and it was a British Soldier, most likely bored out of his mind, who hollowed out a few rubber bullets and stuffed them with Batteries and razor blades - The Night of August 9th - there was heaving rioting going on up in the New Lodge - running battles between Irish Kids throwing Molotovs and the Brits in their Armored Cars creating mayhem - it was there close to a huge bonfire made out of car tires, where 15 yr. old Seamus Duffy got killed by a razor blade laced rubber bullet - the soldier most likely was just a few years older - we never found out ! It was the first time I saw death, in Seamus’ case : murder - In the coming days there were massive protests, and then there was Seamus’ funeral, His family was poor working class, by then Photographers and News Networks from all over the world descended onto Oldpark, to the house where Seamus’ wake was held. I remember the ruckus the media created when Seamus’ coffin was brought from the house into a waiting Hearst - the weather was depressing, damp dark clouds, the neighborhood still reeking of smoldering, burnt Car tires. I had a hard time focusing to photograph - it was just too overwhelming. It was that week, where I was photographing History in the making for the first time - I knew then, that I never would wanna do anything else in Life — Tomo”



Altar for Seamus Duffy, he was shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary following rioting in the New Lodge area of Belfast on 9 August 1989. A pathologist said his heart had been crushed by the impact of the plastic bullet which hit his chest.

Altar for Seamus Duffy, he was shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary following rioting in the New Lodge area of Belfast on 9 August 1989. A pathologist said his heart had been crushed by the impact of the plastic bullet which hit his chest.

Taking a break and chatting with neighbours, New Lodge, 9 August 1989

Taking a break and chatting with neighbours, New Lodge, 9 August 1989

Und gerade noch einen Post

Es freut mich, dass Sie sich im Rahmen des Fotofestivals 2019 in Lenzburg für eine Prosecco-Veranstaltung, moderiert von Rafaela Roth, zur Verfügung stellen. Beiliegend erhalten Sie eine diesbezügliche Vereinbarung. Dürfte ich Sie freundlich bitten, mit diese gelegentlich unterschrieben zu retournieren.

Nichts ist schwerer zu wissen, als was wir eigentlich sehen.

Es freut mich, dass Sie sich im Rahmen des Fotofestivals 2019 in Lenzburg für eine Prosecco-Veranstaltung, moderiert von Rafaela Roth, zur Verfügung stellen. Beiliegend erhalten Sie eine diesbezügliche Vereinbarung.


Nichts zu sagen oder zu fotografieren

Der Ausstellungsraum muss so vorbereitet werden, dass sämtliche Yul-Brynner-Bilder im oberen Gang und im Foyer/Eingangshalle weggenommen und im Keller (?) zwischengelagert werden. Die Zwischenwand zwischen Foyer und Saal soll zum Saal hin geschlossen werden, so dass der Zwischenraum dort auch gebraucht werden kann. Meinst du, dass man in die beiden weissen Wände links und rechts ein Bild hängen könnte. Für einige Bilder können gleich die vorhandenen Nägel der YB-Bilder gebraucht werden.