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image by
Mark Cohen
1972 girls flinching and hiding faces

Taking photographs of people
is almost always an act of aggression.

You take a picture,
sometimes even without asking.

You shoot a picture,
and use it for your purposes.
In a way this is an act of robbery.

Though I am photographing people for a long time now,
I never had, and still don’t have a clear conscience doing that.

It is a simple fact, that most of the people don’t like to be confronted with their image.
We never look as beautiful, as young, and as intelligent as we would want to.

While being photographed, we clench our teeth, form them to a grin, it’s supposed to be a smile, but it’s nothing but putting on a further layer, it’s nothing but enforcing our mask.

Nobody wants to be shown being tired, sad and used up.

Indeed we only accept photographs of us in an idealized form.

Media are full of beautiful people.
Actually they don’t exist in the form they are presented to us, but we take them for real, we compare us to them,
always ending up with a depressing result.

Most of the portraits I have published up until now were photographs taken of people I didn’t know. Chance meetings, never taking up much time.

If asked, I am explaining them,
that the best images I will put up in exhibitions.

That’s sort of offering a lie while telling the truth.
Exhibitions are out of the horizon of the people I meet.
I am not discussing the results with them.

In Ravensburg I had a long-term scholarships,
resulting in an exhibition.
A small city, and the people I photographed all came to the opening.
They seemed to be proud to have become prominent members of the community.

I am trying to turn these photographic chance meetings into an agreeable event.
I am actually a friendly person.
I notice people.
I emphasize with them.

No, I am not hurting anybody with my way of taking photographs.
But I am still nothing but a friendly robber.