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Editing Challenge | W. Zurborn vs. Sylvia Ballhause



Photo book expert Wolfgang Zurborn competed against Sylvia Ballhause on 3.3.23 to create a book dummy from Miriam Stanke's photo material. In the Zoom Talk, the experts present their approach and discuss their results with Miriam and the viewers. As always, the photo book professionals show us step by step how they arrive at their result.

The challenge this time was also to combine two independent series in one book dummy.

Sylvia's design is based on the idea of a turnaround book that combines the two series, yet each series stands on its own. The edit takes a narrative approach that aims to take us on a journey into the two different regions. In a quiet but powerful way, she draws a thread through the images.

Wolfgang trusts the power of images that tell their own story and interweaves the two series in new combinations. He builds in irritations to maintain curiosity and trusts "that we perceive in opposites" (Paul Klee). A colour code indicates which picture belongs to which series.

The designs are two wonderful answers to the question of how far the viewer should be led or left free to see, and how experimental a documentary work can be presented.





Wolfgang Zurborns photobook dummy: Download PDF

About the participants:

  • Sylvia Ballhause:
  • Sylvia Ballhause was born in 1977 in Halle (Saale), Germany. After an apprenticeship as graphic-designer she graduated in communications design with a focus on photography in Darmstadt, Germany, in 2002. From 2007 to 2011 she studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst – the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig, Germany, with Christopher Muller and Beate Gütschow (class of artistic photography). Sylvia Ballhause has taken part in several group exhibitions and international photofestivals. From 2013 to 2017 she was working at Zephyr – Raum für Fotografie in Mannheim. She managed the Darmstadt Days of Photography in 2018. Since 2018 Sylvia Ballhause has been working as project manager at Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg.

  • Wolfgang Zurborn
  • born 1956, studied at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich and at the FH Dortmund. In 1985 he was awarded the Otto Steinert Prize of the DGPh and in 2008 the German Photography Book Prize for his book Drift. Exhibitions of his work are shown internationally. For 37 years he has been co-operating with the Lichtblick Gallery in Cologne and in 2010 he founded the Lichtblick School. He conducts workshops worldwide. Since 1998 he has been on the board of the German Photographic Academy.

  • Miriam Stanke
  • Miriam Stanke is a German photographer and visual storyteller currently based in Mannheim (Rhine-Neckar region), Southern Germany. She works mainly in documentary, editorial and portrait photography.

© Miriam Stanke | And the Mountain said to Munzur: You, River of my Tears, 2014
Sylvia Ballhause's photobook concept
Wolfgang Zurborn's photobook dummy
Miriam Stanke response to the photobook dummies

We would like to thank 'KULTUR.GEMEINSCHAFTEN – Förderprogramm für digitale Content-Produktion in Kultureinrichtungen' for their support. This funding project is supported by Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, NEUSTART KULTUR and Kulturstiftung der Länder.

DFA press materials:



Wolfgang Zurborn's photobook dummy of Miriam Stanke's series.


PDF Presentation

Editing Challenge | Wolfgang Zurborn vs. Sylvia Ballhause

Editing Challenge | Wolfgang Zurborn vs. Sylvia Ballhause

Watch recording and Wolfgang's book dummy on YouTube:


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