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Remix of Picture For A Women by Jeff Wall (1979)
TAKE A BETTER PICTURE
Manifest published in October 2016 and updated in October 2019
presented in a solo exhibition in the contemporary art museum photoforum Pasquart, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland (2018)
I believe, that for 150 years since its invention, the amateur camera has not been a neutral tool in my relationship with others. This tool has been invented by a male white engineer about the ideologies of hunting and the military industry. Indeed, my SRL camera is black, phallic, and in a way still shaped like a gun. I have to admit, I still feel unwell to point a camera with a long lens at someone even after all these years of training. There is tension between the inner eye and the camera.
I believe, that my relationship with the other, my environment is somehow technologically even disturbed by such a tool. The technical possibilities in terms of efficiency, design, and image production are the main appealing qualities for the user. I observe, however, none of its features encourages technically speaking co-creation between the operator and the other. The design of the camera does not help to build a relationship. In this sense, this tool presents a moral and ethical conflict – because it opposes power-sharing. I believe, it’s time to divest this image production tool of its status as a phallus, weapon, or image production machine and turn the act of creation into a shared space of negotiation, where everyone is on equal footing. Today’s tools have to be decolonized and new civil tools have to be invented, which overcome «taking» and «collecting».
Dorothée Elisa Baumann
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