gute aussichten – junge deutsche fotografie is a project set up in 2004 in support of talented young photographers. The core element of the project is an annual competition for final portfolios submitted to all German universities, universities of applied sciences and academies offering a course of study in photography. Two weeks ago the 2010/2011 exhibition started at the Haus der Photographie / Deichtorhallen in Hamburg and will be touring in Germany and to Washington, DC.

This year the seven different prize winners come from different areas of photography. Stephan Tillmans’ work captures the fading away of the cathode ray in old TV sets – something that kids today probably not even remember anymore (see thumb). To me it brought back memories of old black & white TV sets with fake wood decor housings which made cracking noises when the screen was warming up and a 2d world was slowly building up, first pumping and without much contrast, While I like the glossy and technical feel and also the idea, after a few minutes the work lost their novelty factor and (I am afraid to say) becomes to me mostly decorative.

Samuel Henne on the other hand collected and arranged small household items into miniature sculptures in the jolliest colour schemes. One of his works is the motif of the official show and posted everywhere in Hamburg. I didn’t realize at first that it was not a drawing or rendering but an actual photo. It is fun to see how he arranged his plastics with the love in detail. If you read the official catalogue (or website) there is a deeper theoretical background to this work, dealing with the definition (and creation) of art and cultural values. This is something beyond the mere visual of the prints.

Other works, i.e. that of Katrin Kamrau and Jan Paul Evers, obviously follow a similar theoretical approach and at least surprised me when I was expecting high-class (conventional) photography. On the other hand the set of prints by Rebecca Sampson is a sensitive piece of photojournalism. In 28 portraits she takes us to meet patients with eating disorder – a topic not often actively discussed. The portraits touched me but more importantly acted as a mirror of my own concepts and biases.

Finally the most glossy work was that of Tine Reimer and André Hemstedt – Constructing Motion is a set of 33 prints and one video. Don’t ask me for the theoretical background, to me these photos could have been part of a music video or advertising piece. Mostly in hard contrast black and white all shots were thoroughly (and visibly) arranged. The optical realisation was just stunning. Tine Reimer and Andé Hemstedt will also show some of their work at the Projektraum linksrechts bei Kunstleben e.V. in Hamburg this spring.

There is other artists and works as well that is very worthwhile to think about and watch. You can find conceptual details, photos and a CV of all Gute Aussichten winners here.

So was it a good show? From my point of view it gave me food for thought, some works were visually stunning, others encouraged me to look into details and changed the way I perceive the world. So yes, I think it was a good show, even if I liked some works better and felt a bit lost with others.

Photo Stephan Tillmans, Leuchtpunktordnungen,