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Gabriele and Helmut NothhelferIn the beginning, we were interested in the documentary force of photography. We wanted to illustrate and criticize social manifestations like the alienation of leisure. But this documentary intention faded in the face of the impact of the individual pictures: if successful, it gave us an impulse, and we were moved by its particular points, which could be brought onto a socially critical denominator. We realized that the preliminary theoretical decisions cannot be a substitute for the spontaneous grasping of a moment. We moved closer to the anarchic element of photography — where chance is often given more credit than the photographer did. And since there is no point in being jealous of chance, it didn‘t bother us being limited in our impact. For it was only within these limits that our intentions could be realized. The way from reality to a photograph is not a technical process. The photographic process is determined by thought and sense and leads from the conspicuous situation through the taking, discussing and selecting of the picture into the rational eye of the public.
What‘s our Concern with Strangers?
All of the photographs were taken in Berlin. They show people with which we share the experience of living in the same city. The anonymity of a city is not a magic cap, which makes the social roles invisible. What is our concern with these strangers? In passing they give us inducement to think, to experience emotions of attraction or disgust. Our photography also finds itself in this conflict.
Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer (May 2007)