Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

What do pictures really want?

Mar 19, 2019 - Douglas Mandry

The questions raised by the post-internet generation of artists and photographers who, like me, have experienced the shift to a truely digital experience of images in their early practice years, have since years brought a new way of approaching photography and image-making.


Yet I still feel concerned today by photography being both a material and immaterial object. Not in its constitution – pixels or silver gelatin on paper, a photograph is a photograph, but more in its dichotomy between a physical object (a print, an image on a computer) and its ability to be a mental space for projections (memories, interpretation).


WJT Mitchell formulates this in his essay «What do pictures really want?»: photography consists in «replacing mental imagery by its physical equivalent» and vice versa.


In an always more digitalized world, my work is a constant reaction to technological acceleration and its consequences on the man-nature relationship. Photography being known as a tool for the observation of nature and scientific research, it has become for me a way to question our relationship to time, space and memory through an experimental and almost sculptural practice, which merges traditional photographic processes with natural and man-made elements. My latest work «Monuments» is connecting my constant exploration of the medium to a broader concern on climate change and its consequences on swiss landscape – therefore the image of it.