Dr. Sophie-Charlotte Opitz

Short Bio

Sophie-Charlotte Opitz (*1987, Aachen) holds a PhD in art and media studies and is a curator. After a fellowship as art coordinator at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart (2019), she worked in the 'Museum Curators for Photography' programme of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation (2019-2020) at the Fotomuseum Winterthur (CH) and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK), among others. Since 2021, she has been the director of The Walther Collection - an art collection that explores the social uses of photography in its worldwide exhibitions and publications. Opitz's 2020 book 'Bilderregungen: The Production Mechanisms of Contemporary War Photography' (Jonas Verlag) is dedicated to media and socio-cultural dynamics within war and conflict photography. Her research interests include questions of mediality and materiality of collective memory cultures, international image hegemonies and political (in)visibility.


Curatorial Statement

'Photography is medium, instrument and message. The special thing about photography is therefore less the photographic product than the processes and actors associated with it. Photography can be as much a personal expression as a political protest - sometimes both at the same time. In it, socio-cultural, historical and political contexts meet, which can "move" something across time and space. Temporally, the photographic process should not be understood merely from the click of the shutter to the moment of development of the image material, for what led to the image being taken in the first place? And what will it trigger in its future viewing?

Spatially, a photograph can bring places closer to the viewer and be carried on to new places. We should always keep in mind that photography, despite its many qualities, is also limited and incomplete. It cannot preserve memories, it cannot fully document events, it cannot fundamentally prove truth. It is precisely this friction between photography's supposed claim and failure that has led to photography being used as a political instrument and reinforcement of hegemonic power relations since its early beginnings. But the gap, I am convinced, is at the same time photography's greatest potential. In it, ideas can be created and resistances can grow. At the centre of all these considerations are we, who bear the responsibility for the production, distribution and consumption of photography.

It is with these very thoughts that I have approached the portfolios of DFA members. My selection is based, to put it in Barthes' terms, less on the "punctum" (what captivates me in the image) and more on the "study" (the "dedication to the thing").

Thus, in my selection, I was interested in such photographic studies that trigger further photo-theoretical considerations. Only a few examples may be mentioned: The shift of focus to the "trappings" in Simone Demandt's photography critically interrogates the impact and power relations within advertising photography. Anastasia Khonoshilova's close-up of a scarred body works out the temporal complexity that allows a photograph to come into being and points equally to the then, now and tomorrow of a human history marked by wars and conflicts. The inside and outside in Birte Kaufmann's photography symbolises for me the different levels of meaning that photography holds within itself - and the different perspectives from which one can view it. In Loredana Nemes' triptych, we encounter the commonalities of people and medium - their fragility, complexity and dynamism - which probably motivate much of our fascination with the image. All the women photographers gathered here, whose images are beautiful, cruel, frightening, exhilarating, confusing, curiosity arousing, reassuring and inspiring, justify why it is worthwhile to "do" photography - to think and live it.'

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curator's choice

© Simone Demandt | L.i.t. (Landschaft ist tröstlich) (1992 - heute)

© Sinje Dillenkofer | Cases (2001 - heute)

© Dörte Eißfeldt | Schneeball (1988)

© Karen Irmer | Zustand der Veränderung (2019 – heute)

© Birte Kaufmann | The Travellers“ (2011- 2015)

© Anastasia Khoroshilova | Die Übrigen (2015)

© Karina-Sirkku Kurz | Ungleichgewicht (2012 - 2015)

© Valentina Murabito | Fotografische Werke 2013 – 16

© Loredana Nemes | Blütezeit (2012)

© Luzia Simons | Stockage (1996 - heute)

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