N.Y. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards- 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' FIRST PLACE: OLIVER RASCHKA 'Static Tensions 45'
STATIC TENSIONS 45 by Oliver Raschka
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Curator Ellen Wallenstein says, "1st place Oliver Raschka 'Static Tensions 45'- Intriguing because of its content and design; a sophisticated juxtaposition of fashion and war. On the left an image of a large photograph (a poster?), superimposed on or attached to a building.

On the right a shot of what looks to be an armored tank in an enclosed area - perhaps someone’s back yard?  Is it a toy? Is it real? Both sides deal with the determination of scale. That the photos are in black and white rather than color helps to place them in a timeless sphere, even if the fashion and size of the poster on the left are very much in the present.
I am interested in their juxtaposition and the message implied. The woman in the poster seems to be overseeing the tank in the yard- her expression is neutral but what she is looking at isn’t. (We can dress ourselves up, but where are we going to go?) There’s ominousness to the work, especially on the right with its dark shadows at the top pulling energy into a void. This is a very strong timely image."
Wallenstein asks Raschka, "Would you further explain the concept of your title Static Tensions?"
Raschka says, "Living in a city, we are used to the constant availability of shopping and leisure opportunities. However, our relationship to the omnipresence of mass media and advertising in urban spaces is ambivalent. In a positive way, media and advertising means prosperity, knowledge and modernity. But with the city being a shopping temple we also have to deal with issues of information and sensory overload, social exclusion and cultural decline. Which aspect prevails often depends on the situation and varies over time. Thereby, our view depends on the understanding of the social and economic order and culture of our the architecture of buildings, shop windows, subway stations, and market places is where STATIC TENSIONS sets in. The series focuses on the visual overload of the individual due to an artificially created dream world. While walking the streets, the urban surroundings merge with the fictional media world of advertising and create something new. I want to show this fictional reality on the streets in a new way – through unusual perspectives and in black-and-white.

In a figurative sense STATIC TENSIONS stands for the fact that we live in times of global and local tensions. Personal, sociological, cultural, territorial and economic developments influence the individual and the society. STATIC TENSIONS, a term in mechanics, describes the point at which material breaks. This can be interpreted as a situation when viewpoints become blurred.

The presentation of the images as image pairs highlights the confusion of senses. At first sight, it seems that the former image has nothing to do with the latter, but it is the eye of the viewer, which holds these collages of perceptions together.
Also the single images are “true”. They are not digitally composed collages. Each photo was taken separately. One in Edinburgh, the other in Copenhagen and so on. When I'm at home, I print the single pictures and start to put them as double pictures until it fits.

Currently the series contains over 60 images [mostly dyptichs], taken across Europe."
Wallenstein asks, "How do you organize your archive?"
Raschka says, "As I work digitally for over ten years now the answer is obvious: hardrives and backups, backups, backups. But I also print a lot of my images. 
Over time and with more experience, I developed a three-step-process for my different long-term projects (I am running different long-term projects documenting the everyday of my sons and my homecity.): 1. new images, 2. nominees 3. final. Every image has to go through this process, and sometimes it takes a long time and the most of my images never reach the third step. I work very selective.  But I never delete an image. As storage is cheap, I buy new memory cards and keep the old ones."

Wallenstein asks, "Would you ever re-use a photograph in more than one diptych?"

Raschka says, "From today’s point of view I would say "No“, but never say never.

I also present the photographs as single images, because the Concept of content of STATIC TENSIONS is leading, not the presentation. The project contains some great pictures, which have no counterpart, because they are very complex even as single pictures. I also add pictures in landscape format, but in this case a Dyptich layout doesn't really fit."
Wallenstein asks, "Why do you work in black and white?"
Raschka says, "For STATIC TENSIONS, the absence of colour emphasizes the connections of these complex urban constructions, which are essential parts of human perception levels. Black-and-white alters reality in a very special way. It is all about light and structure, and it is timeless.

The combination of dyptich and black-and-white is the icing of the cake to confuse the senses of the viewer and to give new insights in the daily environment. STATIC TENSIONS is an example of how well-known urban traces can be found and interpreted. The images may not only engage people in the hidden beauty of their personal environment but also in the meaning of objects and media concepts of public spaces. Although there are no real people in the images, it is intriguing to recognize that man determines his entire environment.

As a result, STATIC TENSIONS shows the transformation of everyday motifs into an art form, without losing their urban rawness."

Additional review by curator Steve Grody:
"The composition… alignments, balance, rhythm are nicely put together. Even the smaller background blonde woman helping pull our gaze to the left along with the line of bricks to balance the diagonal of the fence  and left-side roof. And the human/machine juxtaposition (wouldn’t try to make meaning out of it on my own…) draws us in."

Oliver Raschka says of his series, "The World Is Not Enough At Seven O`Clock In The Morning', "No staging, no posing. Snapshots from real life, at home, while playing, after school, at sports, during shopping.

As a silent observer, I feel the daily here and now of my children. Not as a father, but as a photographer. A visual sociology of childhood in dramatic and engaging black and white images. Here, the window is a reflection of the past, the present, and the future.

For children, life is an adventure every day. But what is it like to be a child? What was it like to be a child? When you don’t have to worry about yesterday or tomorrow? When you just live for the moment? For adults childhood often seems like a desirable and endlessly ongoing time in life full of love, joy and safety, but from a child’s perspective it is also a rollercoaster of emotions, an eternal struggle between the child’s dependence and need for autonomy, self-discovery, fear, happiness, pain, hope and self-doubt.

Often the emotional state of a child suddenly changes at a moment’s notice. But it is everyday life that determines the lives of my children. I try to capture these unique moments in an honest way, as they come up in a natural manner. I don’t ask my sons to pose for me.

As I keep a camera on hand as often I can, I am able to record their life in a fluid way. For me, this long-term project is about the core of (street) photography: to capture the transitory in the contemporary, to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and thus to allow new perspectives on the known and finally to give subjective insights into a young family life that are universal at the same time. So these images are candid — not staged — but always unique."

Oliver Raschka is a photographer from Stuttgart, Germany. He studied economics and psychology. As a photographic autodidact he trained himself through numerous workshops with renowned photographers. He loves black-and-white photography, coffee is the drug of his choice, and loud rock music is what he likes. His photographs have been widely published in group and individual exhibitions as well as in international and national journals.
Career Highlights:

Galerie Fototreppe42 Hanau 2018 (solo show), Opus Fotopreis 2017 (Award), German Association of Craftsmen 2017 (group show), German Photographic Academy 2016 (portfolio show), Moscow Foto Awards 2016 (2nd Place), numerous publications, i. e. Schwarzweiss Magazin, Black+White Photography, Der Greif, London Independent Photography.