Düsseldorf ingredients


General Photography

A recent New Yorker review (13 and a half lines - a snippet, isn’t it?) of Josef Schulz’ show at Yossi Milo gallery concludes that his “pictures of sites reduced to abstractions […] might suggest an ominously faceless future if they didn’t look so much like relics of the digital-photography boom of the nineties.” That did strike me as an oddly superficial reading of those images - not that I want to pretend that my initial reaction to seeing the prints (I was quite familiar with the images from the web) was any less superficial: It almost seemed to me that what Schulz had achieved was to take almost all of the ingredients often associated with the “Düsseldorf School” - the sterility, the human detachment, the willingness to digitally manipulate, even down to the diasec and the large prints - and had them distilled into a single body of work: And it doesn’t work. The images are nicely decorative (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but for me they don’t seem to offer anything else. Which means that all those Düsseldorf ingredients really are (actually: should be) only means to an end, and what truly matters is not what the photography looks like, but what it says.