— Lauren May (@LEM_photograph) April 24, 2017
Step 2: Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber started ANT!FOTO together in 2010, offering exhibitions and guest lectures to those willing to get involved in discussions about photography. This was such a success that in 2013 they released the Antifoto Manifesto & Visual Archive, a collaborative blog where people could submit their own work in response to the manifesto. Involving others and educating people was a key aspect of Antifoto for Katja and Oliver, this is why I chose to create this joint portrait of both Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber, collaboration is key, so creating a single portrait of both of them together was more ideal.
The images of the Antifoto manifesto and front cover of their book create layers in the image; this was used because Antifoto is such a big part of their lives, but is also symbolic of the journey they have taken in creating Antifoto and developing it to what it is today. They also encourage spontaneity, and use photography like a universal language so that everyone can understand, hence the simplicity of the image.
Step 3:As well as ANT!FOTO and its manifesto, Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber continued to create bodies of work reflecting on aspects of society and different ways of creating photographic work. Work that was particularly interesting was Katja Stuke’s Supernatural, a series of portraits taken from television screens of the Olympics, a split second before the decisive moment that would determine the Olympians performance and scores. Focusing on the pressure and determination, Katja also looks at the identities of the women and girls performing in the Olympics, and its impact.
A lot of work is based on using images that have already been taken or used, and responding to them by putting more focus into the somewhat overlooked story, or shedding new light on them. The use of old images demonstrates that work can be created from pre-existing or old work, and it is just as important.
This piece is a collage created from recent photographs of conflict and protests in France, the unorganized and chaotic layout is symbolic of the resulting chaos from conflict, and also of the hundreds of thousands of news stories thrown at us from all over the world, and how it can create confusion for many.
The images were taken on a phone camera of online news, two huge influences of modern day society and how many view the world through a computer or phone screen.
Regarding the Antifoto Manifesto
Lauren (Elizabeth May) Greathead
‘Ant!foto’ or Antifoto was started in 2010 by Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber, where they curated Antifoto’s first exhibition in Düsseldorf, involving other photographers and artists. Continuing this process of inviting artists and lecturers from all over the world to Böhmkobayashi University, they invited others into the discussion about aspects of photography through the use of exhibitions and talks. In 2013 they released the Antifoto Manifesto & Visual Archive, a blog of collected work submitted by different artists in response to the idea of Antifoto, their thoughts, and the idea of a Visual Manifesto.
Work submitted to this archive was then displayed at an exhibition during Photoweekend in Düsseldorf, where the audience was allowed to edit their own Visual Manifesto, which was then added to the Ant!foto Manifesto Text-Issue.
The use of interaction and collaboration is a constant aspect of Ant!foto, and although the digital archive blog is now closed to submissions, the Manifesto itself is still online for people to view, and can be discussed and shared onto other platforms if the viewer wishes.
The Antifoto Manifesto itself consists of 10 bullet points, open to interpretation; the statements are not intended to be rules or even guidelines, but are Antifoto’s perspective of photography as an art, a practice, and a profession. It is also how photography is a constantly evolving platform of not only image-making, but is also an evolved language and contradicts the English idiom “A picture is worth a thousand words”, originally coined by newspaper editor Tess Flanders in 1911, referring to the idea that an image can represent many complex ideas, but realistically in modern day image-making, an image is merely ‘the tip of the iceberg’ (Stuke, K. & Sieber, O. 2013).
The manifesto offers a new perspective for some, and on several bullet points states that progress is just as important as the final outcome, for many this rings true as research sketchbooks are considered during evaluation as well as the final body of work. The thought processes behind a piece of work cannot only show how a person reached their final decision, but also how they could improve on future work.
This ties well with the sixth rule on a different manifesto created by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent, titled Some Rules for Students and Teachers, “Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.” And also the fourth rule, “Consider everything an experiment.” The rules were set for students in her class, and stuck for many years to come. It taught that everybody could learn from one another, and that mistakes were not a bad thing but were something to learn from. This again is acknowledged by the final Antifoto manifesto bullet point stating “Open your eyes, go visit exhibitions.” a piece of advice for those willing to learn more about photography, its history and also its future.
En.wikipedia.org. (2017). A picture is worth a thousand words. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_words [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].
Popova, M. (2017). 10 Rules for Students, Teachers, and Life by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent. [online] Brain Pickings. Available at: https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/08/10/10-rules-for-students-and-teachers-john-cage-corita-kent/ [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].
Stuke, K. and Sieber, O. (2013). THE ANT!FOTO MANIFESTO. [online] THE ANT!FOTO MANIFESTO. Available at: https://theantifotomanifesto.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].