Sometimes, one runs the risk of writing about something that has been detached, singled out, removed from its original context and a definable time. But anyway, undivided attention is there; a photograph makes itself present again, apparently all by itself. Simply because people can be seen and despite the fact they lived in another period, they appear to be so present. Through their gazes, what they do, the process of being shot in a photographic image. The participation in the events, gestures and the photographic situation comes about, without hesitation, in a few moments.
The scanning gaze over the photograph can follow details, gain depth in certain places, discover relations and thereby introduce assumptions or thoughts about: a group sitting at a table outdoors, sitting on wooden chairs and benches and having set up a coffee table sheltered from the wind despite or whether the backdrop, a provisional garden house, a men’s jacket hanging on the back of a chair, gives indications, about haircuts, clothes and austerity and about the patchwork tarpaper on the garden house.
And then, from the time when this gaze is able to capture all these details, dialogues begin; those conversations that emerge from the stillness of photographs: quiet snippets of talk made of memories, fragments of one’s own stories, possible sentences, dialogues about the figures photographed – and then one composes the smell of the meadow to go with it and perhaps the humming of insects.
At some interval, apparently unexpected, and suddenly the gaze slides away again: the letterbox on the house, the high grass, wooden chairs and a wooden table, realising that there were no objects made of synthetic material, no sign that says that the 1960s have begun. And the recurring, now rather puzzled gaze at the strange tarpapered house. A second dialogue begins: Colour films first came with the Allies to Germany, résumés that have lived through the 1940s as adults, a house that is probably not a makeshift, hard wooden chairs taken from indoors to outside, the beginnings of the Economic Miracle or not, and yet still colour film.
The uncertainties, the imponderability, the unsure, perceptible knowledge. The photograph suddenly develops another moment of reality: The tarpaper on the garden house that is in fact not one, steeped in black tar, raw and patchwork, that is where the gaze lingers, slows down and then becomes calm – this perfect makeshift force, its not splitting apart, the subtle starkness of things transforms into something eerie.