INTERVIEW

28.12.2016

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“Whenever I’m in a city I take photographs,” Peter Bialobrzeski says. He has been dealing with questions about urbanity, city development, and ludicrous architecture for a long time. This year, Bialobrzeski was out and about in Kochi, southern India, with a Leica SL. One of his City Diaries emerged during his four-week stay.


The Kochi Diary fits into your City Diaries series, but also into your photographic emphasis on urban spaces. What is it about the theme that interests you? Why doesn’t it seem to let you go?
It’s hard to describe, but it’s true that city planning has always interested me, even back in my geography lessons. This idea about how things grow and go together, the mixture of systematics and chaos. These are antagonisms that I carry within myself: being both organised and emotional at the same time.

How does you way of working differ from the work of a street photographer?
In the past, I did work in a way that was more inclined towards classic street photography. I was much closer to it. The City Diaries are more of an in between thing. The observation is, however, always a bit more distanced. The cityscape works like a stage for me, where a theatre piece is being performed. That applies very specially to Kochi, because there are always so many people out and about. In fact, my way of working is not so far from classic street photography. The difference is that I am less interested in the individual situation, and much more in the whole picture. Every corner within the frame has meaning for me. This way you can read the cities topography in the pictures, but also its sociology.

You always photograph half an hour before or after the sunrise or sunset. Why?
It’s because then I have a consistent kind of light. This way no hierarchies or dramas emerge. And a place’s structure becomes recognisable. The pictures in this kind of light acquire a documentary character, but always contain a subjective position. This approach gives the photos a historic dimension.

You can read the whole article in LFI 1/2017.
© Kochi Biennale

Peter Bialobrzeski

Peter Bialobrzeski and his surreal and haunting cityscapes shift between art and documentation. He is interested in places of transition, places that can not be specifically located. Born in Wolfsburg in 1961, Bialobrzeski studied politics and sociology. After travelling in Asia he completed studies of photography at the Folkwangschule in Essen and at the LCP in London. To date he has published 13 monographs, his work has received numerous awards and he has been exhibited all over the world. Since 2002, Bialobrzeski is Professor of Photography at the Art School in Bremen.

www.bialobrzeski.de
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