For our Issue 15 digital release event on the 19th of November we invited all of the artists selected by our 50 guest editors to invite a photographer that they see as a colleague or inspiration to respond with an image to their diptych spread in the magazine. We then selected ten of these newly formed triptychs to show at the digital release. We were able to increase a sense of community through this exercise and think through how images converse with one another. Here we have paired the newly formed triptychs with words about Issue 15 by Sandrine Hermand-Grisel, the founder & editor of All About Photo.
The 15th issue of Der Greif takes us on a journey through one hundred images from the perspective of fifty esteemed guest editors and fifty chosen images from an open call inviting photographers to define their own perception of collectivity. Through their intimate narratives, each photographer reveals their own vision of the theme.
Each photographer has their own point of view; their choice of subject, composition, and process. Viewed consecutively, this creates a different work of art despite a singular theme. There is a vision that coexists in a collective effort. When it comes to the presentation of work, it is distinctly divided into presenting each artist individually, with a clear border between each particular piece. But in this issue, each artist’s work also complements one another’s.
Individual photographers enjoy an autonomy which is somehow derived from that of the collective. Indeed, photographers have always forged their own eye through the work of others, be it masters they admire or their contemporaries. Culture is a collective, in which we are all implicated, even when we are but passive viewers. If individuals are influenced by their education and their environment it is undeniable that they are also swayed by their cultural heritage.
Photographers demonstrate altogether innate and acquired aptitudes in their work. Their sensitivity and creativity nourish themselves from conscious or unconscious influence from other artists. Furthermore, the scope of each work will always extend beyond any of us, which is an asset when working beyond the capacity of an individual. In the end, it is through the collectivity of photographers' choices that aesthetic trends are set and new practices may evolve.
‘The Collectivity Issue’ doesn’t promote any one perspective, but rather brings together the best aspects of photography and how one work can respond to another. Each guest editor chose a different bias. Hoda Afshar (page 6) chose to associate her image of what looks like the smoke of a bomb, to a man covering his face coated in ashes with his hand (page 7), as if he was suffering from the drama that happened in the first image. Gabby Laurent (page 26), on the other hand, chose to associate her image of a woman carrying a man (both wearing jeans and socks) with an image of a woman carrying another woman both as well wearing jeans and socks. (page 27) The parallel is more obvious, both because of its subject and its similar distinctive elements.
In the end, no matter the guest editor’s preferred approach, this 15th issue constitutes a unique collector's magazine that establishes a visual dialogue between each selected photographer as well as the observer, provoking complicity and reflection. We are challenged by the subjects, the aesthetic, and the narrative of the images. Photography is a medium that allows the viewer to take as much time as they need to think. To think through the eyes of someone else, to open one’s mind to new understandings. This new edition of Der Greif certainly allowed me to wonder, to awe, and to praise.