[Artist and filmmaker, b. 1945, Düsseldorf, lives in Berlin.]
An image that is unseen can’t sell anything. It is pure, therefore true, beautiful, in one word: innocent. As long as no eye contaminates it, it is in perfect unison with the world. If it is not seen, the image and the object it represents belong together.
The most political decision you make is where you direct people’s eyes. In other words, what you show people, day in and day out, is political... And the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show him, every day, that there can be no change.
The beautiful image today means nothing. It’s worth shit. In fact, it’s almost as if it has the opposite effect, because you’re just like everything else out there.
Whoever came up first with that saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” didn’t understand the first thing about either one.
Images are no longer what they used to be. They can’t be trusted any more. We all know that. You know that. When we grew up, images were telling stories and showing them. Now they’re all into selling. They’ve changed under our very eyes. They don’t even know how to do it anymore. They’ve plain forgotten. Images are selling out the world. And at a big discount.
I think seeing happens partly through the eyes, but not entirely.
Every photo, every “once” in time is also the beginning of a story “once upon a time.” Every photo is the first frame of a movie.
If anything, I see myself as a “witness.” I’d also be pleased, if you’d call me an “interpreter.” I try to hear and see the message of a place and pass it on, into that other language, the universal one of images.