04 November 2012

Visual language

I am Swiss. I speak German, a little bit french, just enough to seduce a woman, and the kind of minimal English, limited, as you are just about to read it.

nude in the streets of Barcelona, by Daniel Bauer
streets of Barcelona,
seen by Daniel Bauer
When I first arrived to Barcelona I couldn't even say if somebody was talking Italian or Spanish. I had taken an intensive Spanish course but in the end I didn't know much more than the common necessary words like "hello", "thanks" and "please get naked".

Spanish is a very beautiful language, especially if you don't understand what people are talking, but just hear the Latin melody. Although from the same linguistic roots like french, many words are very different. More than once I asked a model to please turn her tits to the other side. Not because I wanted her to perform an anatomic feat but simply because I used the french word "tête" for head, which in Spanish sounds like "teta" - tit.

The language really offers a lot to laugh. Imagine that the only difference between chicken-meat and a dick is that the chicken ends with an "o" (pollo) while the dick ends with an "a" (polla). I never ordered a "dick sandwich" (bocadillo de polla), not because I am so very original that I never use old, fucked-up jokes, but rather because during more than 20 years I have been a strict vegetarian and so simply didn't have the chance to apply this gag of Spanish greenhorns. However, during a long time reading "pollo" on an restaurants menu made me think about my "polla" and gave me the opportunity to turn the conversation to the respective topic...

As mentioned before, I am Swiss. Always on time like my Omega watch. And loving precision. Although misunderstandings can be fun and sometimes, under optimal circumstances, even lead directly to where communication happens on a more unconscious, harmonious base where nobody cares about the difference between "ah"s and "oh"s, in most parts of my life I like communication to be precise, clear without ambiguity, direct, unmistakable. I don't like blabla and small talk.

woman enjoying herself on the carpet of Daniel Bauer's studio in Barcelona
The same applies to visual language. There is a flood of vacuous images, copies of copies of a once maybe original idea, old jokes (dick-sandwiches), photoshopped to death, like a text of beautiful words saying precisely: nothing.

An image says more than a thousand words, they say. But what if those thousand words are completely meaningless?

Just the same as in literature where there are great writers whose texts are so strong that they affect you just as if you actually would live the described situation, there are photographers whose work already on first sight, even more after lingering over it for a moment, transmit a message and let you be immersed in the other world the artist opens for you.

Yana shouting at Daniel Bauer
I've got something to say!
Yana by Daniel Bauer
But because images talk to the beholder just like words to the reader, the given information might be as precise as possible, but of course there will always be many, if not the majority, who don't understand or misunderstand the message. And just like the jovial guy whose empty hahaha-hihihi-jokes attracts much more in a party than the person who has to say something profound, original and therefore always controversial, the easy to understand image, already seen in countless versions, will have much more likes on facebook than a true piece of art. In a visual world, where choosing the right instagram app is considered as being creative, the crowd will only "like" it after that some "important" people have repeated many times that this is important artwork. They "like" it not because they really like or even understand it, but because they don't have their own criteria and so simply like what everybody likes.

Don't get me wrong: I love my work, but I don't want to put my skills not even into proximity of the mastery of the great photographers of the past and the present. But my goal is to create art images with a clear, direct and unambiguous expression. As an artist I am on a constant search for perfection, thus breaking rules and less and less considering what generally is seen as good, correct, appropriate.

May you like it or not: it's what I have to say.

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