For this series, entitled Lovely Planet: Germany I adopt a presentation style inspired by one of the most popular travel guides. In the manner recommended to tourists by Lonely Planet, I use and reinterpret the seven categories as a way of getting to know the own country: places of interest, activities, shopping, sleeping, eating, transport, and guided tours. In texts added retrospectively to my photographic travel sketches, which comprise exhibits in their own right, I meditate on such topics as shopping opportunities as well as the country’s latest cultural achievements. This combination of text and image emphasizes both the fragility of meaning attached to visual signs and the challenges involved as a photographer in getting to know a country. When the spectator becomes a reader, fiction and reality are transformed into a balancing act. Sometimes the text belies the image, and sometimes the image is inappropriate for the text, or even undermines it. My pictures at first came about by following recommendations from Lonely Planet, in that I adopted the role of a tourist, but without illustrating these recommendations with photographs. Elsewhere I abandoned the role of a tourist or complemented it with a number of my own pictures and written accounts.
This playful approach to the role of a tourist, to the genre of travel photography, and to the travel guide form allowed me to develop the ironic distance that reflected the melancholy humor that I encountered on my travels.
This project was supported by the Ruhrtriennale | Campustriennale