“The way each sitter endures his or her ordeal is the collective action of the photograph, its “plot,” so to speak. When we look at a narrative painting, we can suspend our disbelief; when we look at a narrative photograph, we cannot. We are always aware of the photograph’s doubleness—of each figure’s imaginary and real persona. Theater can transcend its doubleness, can make us believe (…) that we are seeing only Lear or Medea. Still photographs of theatrical scenes can never escape being pictures of actors.”
- Janet Malcolm on Julia Margaret Cameron
Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff (*1988 in Minneapolis, *1987 in Buffalo, live and work in Berlin)use photography as their focal instrument for artistic research to explore spatial, economic, structural, and personal change in the context of today’s realities. As both foil and complement to their work as photographers, Henkel and Pitegoff also work with performance, theater and the creation of social spaces, such as New Theater or Grüner Salonat Volksbühne in Berlin.
For the Triennial of Photography Hamburg, black & white photographs of actors, performers and musicians form an ensemble of portraits that recall theatre advertising or headshots. Multiplied and grouped, the images are swept into different narrative tides, operating as trading cards within fictive collections. The groupings of images pull at the tangle of performance and self, at questions of labor, ownership of image, identity, and the collective narrative in the face of the individual body.