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Segments of Reality

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Through to December 18, 2021, the Bene Taschen Gallery in Cologne presents Jeff Mermelstein’s project ‘Hardened’. For this series, the New-Jersey-born photographer (b. 1957) switched from his trusty Leica to the camera on his iPhone: through unconventional perspectives and idiosyncratic scenes, the artist set out to rediscover street photography in the age of social media.

A master of camouflage, Mermelstein captures intimate and absurd moments from the vantage point of concealment. People, animals and objects are distorted through blur; pixellated objects and out-of-focus areas are positioned in the foreground; different image planes meld into each other, and can only be distinguished through close observation.

Subtle connections – such as the embroidery on someone’s shirt matching the colour of their carrot salad – are brought to the viewer’s attention. At the same time, details of people’s lives are depicted in the form of extreme magnifications that almost feel like a violation of the subject’s privacy, revealing every flaw.

Jeff Mermelstein’s book of the same title was released by Mörel Publishing in 2019.

For further information please visit Galerie Bene Taschen

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