from 02.10.1997 to 01.11.1997
Alfred Wetzelsdorfer, Reiner Riedler
Bad Queen, Polaroid Lovers, Turtle
An essential element of Alfred Wetzelsdorfer's artistic work is the attribution of collected fragments of images dating from different periods and dealing with different themes into a sequence of pictures. Self-portraits, media images that have been rephotographed and pictorial material from everyday life are interwoven into a narration - taken apart again - and recombined into something new. Wetzelsdorfer's photographic works which are constantly varied and expanded involve an open and lively working process. Reaching any final point is not his goal.
In his series of photographs the individual pictorial units function as sequences of memory that enter into our consciousness and disppear again. The past and present, details and panoramas, the personal and the general, distance and closeness ... are in constant interplay relativizing one another by the way in which they follow one another without transitions.
"Homeless - People Living in the Street"
1993-1997, b/w photographs, 30 x 40 cm each
The themes of my photographic work are mostly those that fascinate me from the outset, that capture my emotions for some reason. This is important, for otherwise I could not concern myself with them for a long time.
For me photography is a very emotional matter in any case. In my photojournalistic work it would be unimaginable at least for me personally to portray someone or some situation without establishing some contact with the people whose photo I take. I have to make sure that I have the permission of the person I portray, even if it be just a fleeting smile. That is the most difficult aspect of this kind of photography, i.e. to grasp situations, to know one's position as photographer, to do what you personally consider acceptable as far as the ethics of photography is concerned.
I try not to compromise people whose photographs I take. Photography as such is a very suitable means for representing people in an unflattering way - especially in these images of homeless people it was very difficult for me to make a selection that I could live with. Especially with this theme it would be easy to work with very drastic means. I have tried to avoid this even if I have not always been successful.
For about a year and a half during which I worked as a conscientious objector in a shelter for homeless people run by Caritas I was constantly confronted with homelessness. I had access to people whom one otherwise knows only from passsing them by in the street. And among them I have got to know a few whom I have learned to appreciate and of whom I have grown fond. For me that meant entering into a world that I had not known before and that frightened me to a certain extent but in which I have in the meantime learned to feel at ease. This contact with the people then allowed me to pursue my work as a photographer and to portray these people in their environment. Beyond my service as a conscientious objector I then worked on a report for Profil magazine in cooperation with the journalist Eva Menasse which led me to a new approach, i.e. to not portray anyone and anything indiscriminately but to approach the topic systematically. At that time my work got something like a structure.
I will continue to pursue this theme in my work as a photographer for Caritas.