Beletage: Reflections of a Window Cleaner
Friday, May 15, 2015 – Friday, June 19, 2015
Deutsches Haus at NYU
The opening reception and book launch will take place on Friday, May 15th at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a conversation between Lars Nickel and the journalist Paul Glader about the making of this project.
Lars Nickel doesn’t look for his subjects; they hire a window washer and get a photographer into the bargain. That is what makes these photographs seem so wonderfully normal and down to earth. They show who and what is behind the front door. Pictures, furniture, carpets, decorative objects – of course all these things say something about the people who live among them, but there is no attempt to promote a particular agenda, just ordinary curiosity about one’s neighbors.
But the photographs’ apparent matter-of-factness does not just happen by itself. Precisely the appearance of simplicity requires long experience and great technical skill. Light, distance, linearity – all aspects of the photographer’s craft. And above all: the eye contact between photographer and photographed, the trust that neither will do anything to harm the other. This can certainly be interpreted as a rejection of the current celebration of “baring it all”. In any case, I am not aware of any other contemporary portrait photography project like this one.
Lars Nickel is a German photographer who was born in (East) Berlin in 1969. The year 1986 marked the beginning of Lars Nickel's unbroken autodidactic interest in art photography. In the 1990s he began several complex photo-series in Romania and was trained as a Media Designer for Digital and Print Media. Later he studied under Prof. Arno Fischer at fas Berlin. His works include the photo-project “grenzen-verbinden,” with trips to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, funded by Robert-Bosch-Stiftung (2005), photography in EU border regions, a Cowboy photo-series in Berlin and Brandenburg (2006), portraits of former Soviet war prisoners in Russia and Armenia, funded by Fonds Erinnerung und Zukunft (2007), the documentary film "Journey to Tontschuki" (2009), a catalogue on "Russian Camps and Forced Labour" (2011). In addition, he did free-lance work, including for teams such as H. Hauswald/Ostkreuz. In 2013 he shot regular photos for the DSW-Journal and Theater an der Parkaue in Berlin. In 2014 he completed the Beletage project which was published in German by Braus Verlag as "Beletage – Ansichten eines Fensterputzers."
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