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Finalists of the 2. Online Portfolio Walk

The applications for the second season of the Online Portfolio Walk of the German Photographic Academy have made it clear that there is a new diversity in the stylistic orientations of contemporary photography. Belief in the objectivity of the medium is waning and a free space for a broad spectrum of conceptual and experimental working methods is developing. It was not easy for the jury to select only five positions from this wealth of subjective perceptions of our life-world that could give new impulses to contemporary artistic photography.

The awarded photographers are: Eckart Bartnik, Heike Frielingsdorf, Lisa Hoffmann, Erik Östensson, Diana Cheren Nygren, Magdalena Stengel.

If you would like to take part in the 3rd Online Portfolio Walk: HERE is the Open Call.

DFA press materials:

Eckart Bartnik | Am Fluss

Eckart Bartnik | Am Fluss

Jury member Jürgen Scriba about 'Am Fluss': ‘Eckart Bartnik's series 'Am Fluss' (Riverside) initially encounters the viewer in a very unspectacular way. Dramatic light effects, which characterize many of the photographer's other works, are missing. People stand, sit or lie on the riverbank. What brought them there? Only in the series do the different motivations become apparent. Some of the people portrayed seem to be caught up in an intimate dialogue with the water. Others seem to want to take possession of the place for themselves. Some of them fit rather casually into the landscape composition at the edge of the picture. This diversity, which finds a common thread in the strict reduction of the photographic means of design, distinguishes the series and is convincing as an artistic concept.’ Eckart Bartnik about his work: ‘Rivers have always been lifelines and places of longing for people. In our dreams a river symbolizes the cycle of fertility, death and renewal. The series "Am Fluss" shows people on the Rhine, the German river, among others, which like few rivers is closely interwoven with history and culture, with myths and old conflicts. The pictures show people in all their humanity and in their relationship to the landscape. And they tell of the desire for location and retreat. The photographs are not voyeuristic, but are marked by a deep desire to understand what gives people stability and peace and why they seek this on the banks of a river.’ Short bio: Eckart Bartnik lives and works in Wiesbaden. His artistic photo projects allow him, as a natural scientist, not only to analyse what he sees rationally but also to interpret it emotionally. As an autodidact, he deepened his knowledge in workshops with renowned photographers such as Bruce Barnbaum, Wolfgang Zurborn, Markus Schaden, Thekla Ehling, Laura Hynd, Claudio Cambon, Olaf Otto Becker, Ann Mandelbaum, Derek Ridgers and Göran Gnaudschun. Since the 1980s his works have been exhibited internationally in group and solo exhibitions and published in daily newspapers (e.g. FAZ), magazines (e.g. Stern), trade journals (e.g. Wings), and online (Spiegel-Online, TheGuardian). In 2019 he was awarded 'Landscape photographer of the year' of the Minimalist Photography Award. From the early abstract subjects, his gaze increasingly turns to reality, which is interwoven with the past and man's relationship to the landscape. In his more recent works, he uses light to transform the image so that the essence of what he sees becomes visible. https://www.eckart-bartnik.de

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Heike Frielingsdorf | AusZeit

Heike Frielingsdorf | AusZeit

Jury member Wolfgang Zurborn about ‘AusZeit‘ (TimeOut): ‚The people in Heike Frielingsdorf's pictures are looking for a time out, in which they can leave the daily routine behind. But they seem to get lost in the often bizarre-looking backdrop of leisure culture. With her keen powers of observation, the photographer develops a view between loving empathy for her protagonists and biting irony in the depiction of an often impersonal and sterile-looking environment. The pictures never aim at a flat punch line to make fun of people. Beyond any slapstick, their humour is created in a much more subtle way through the virtuoso interplay of different levels of action in complex image compositions. In her photographs, Heike Frielingsdorf creates stages of our contemporary world, in which she gives the objects and people in her living environment space to tell stories out of their own accord.‘ Frielingsdorf about her work: ‘The present pictures are part of my ongoing project ‘AusZeit’. The title is significant in that the people in my pictures often look for a little break in their everyday life, leave their routine behind for a moment. I am fascinated by such situations that seem to come across as trivial and yet create a cosmos of their own. Pictures that tell stories, that make people's dreams, longings, and worries tangible and often reflect life in all its absurdity. To recognize these fleeting moments, while at the same time keeping an eye on formal aspects such as light and shadow, the arrangement of perceivable shapes and colours, and then to press the shutter release at the right moment, is always a real challenge and the greatest happiness when it succeeds. It is in the nature of things that I proceed less in terms of content or theme in the narrower sense. Rather, I follow the "rhythm of the street" in a self-determined way, immerse myself in my surroundings and move around like on a huge stage in the midst of ‘my’ protagonists, whose complex game of life I try to capture photographically.’ Short bio: Heike Frielingsdorf was born in Paderborn in 1970. After her studies, she worked as a teacher until 2000, moved to Cologne, and switched to film production. In search of more creative involvement and meaning, she discovered her interest in photography in 2010, while at the same time she took the step into self-employment. After various workshops and seminars and thus a constant process of development, photography is no longer a hobby for her, but a real passion and her everyday necessary means of expression. Last year she was a finalist of the ‘Street Photography International SPi Awards’, took 5th place in the (single photo) competition of the first ‘German Street Photography Festival’, was awarded by ‘Women Street Photographers’ and participated in group exhibitions in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, San Francisco, and New York. https://www.heikefrielingsdorf.de

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Lisa Hoffmann | Atlas of the Essence

Lisa Hoffmann | Atlas of the Essence

Jury member Ingo Taubhorn about ‘Atlas oft he Essence’: ‘Concepts that shape our visual culture in the information society, such as ‘fake news’, ‘fake identity’, or ‘postfactual age’, are taking aim at the young generation of ‘digital natives’ in their artistic concepts and daring new image solutions.Lisa Hoffmann (*1989) belongs to this generation. For her Atlas of Essence, she layers up to 200 photographic images, which she researches and catalogues in meticulous searches on the Net, one on top of the other, always bearing in mind that despite important information that war images have for the public, the doubt remains as to whether an image could reflect the complexity of the horrors of war or crisis. Hoffmann, who has worked as a photographer even in crisis areas, expresses precisely this in her large-format images, which are reminiscent of battle scenes. I, as a viewer, am called upon to remove the layers of the image again, despite its fascinating beauty. A great work, currently on view at the Haus der Photographie in the exhibition ‘gute aussichten - junge deutsche Fotografie 2019/20’ until August 30 in Hamburg.’ Hoffmann about her work: ‚ATLAS OF THE ESSENCE is the result of artistic research into counter-images, which deals with images of the mainstream media and their perception. Conflicts, disasters, and terror dominate the media. Since the Vietnam War, we have become accustomed to a certain kind of images. Images which, despite their horror, lead to habituation and result in dullness. The works of the series break with our understanding of images and demand a new perception and thus a new confrontation. The works unite a multitude of photographs from different perspectives of the individual events in one image, starting with the world press, local photographers, and mobile phone pictures of people directly affected. The basis is intensive research in archives as well as social networks and online platforms. The result is a single image that unites all the others and at the same time shows through overlays and gaps that there is never one image.’ > In the gallery please click on 'credits' to find out which conflict / country it is about < Short bio: Lisa Hoffmann (born 1989 in Bocholt, lives and works in Kiel), is a visual artist with a focus on photography and media art. In 2019 she completed her two-year project scholarship at the Muthesius Academy of Art in Kiel after she successfully completed her master's degree in 2016 with project funding from the Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" at the same institution. From 2009 to 2013 she studied fine arts at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel and at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. She has received awards for her work, is represented in exhibitions in Germany and other European countries and has received residency scholarships at the Maumaus Escola Lisbon and the Agder Kunstsenter Kristiansand, among others. https://www.lhoffmann.com

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Erik Östensson | The circle and the line

Erik Östensson | The circle and the line

Jury member Andreas Langen about ‘The circle and the line’: ‘Probably every word is too much here. Erik Östensson's pictures radiate a silence that can hardly be compared with anything that Central European everyday life has to offer. The rooms, the surfaces, the objects, the staging are barren. In contrast, the puzzles are large and the horizons of meaning that Östensson creates are wide. Mostly strictly central: precarious balances; an upside-down hovering over the waters; wooden sticks on palms; holes in white paper; naked arms and legs; full moon rising; frozen herring fillets; snowy landscapes. Stoical like the figures in a Kaurismäki film, the protagonists of these miniature stage performances refuse to be unambiguous. "When I was a child, my world was coherent. Everything made sense," Östensson noted in one of his books. That was obviously a long time ago. Today the man from the far north is a seeker and we get to watch him. If that is not luck!’ Östensson about his work: ‘When looking at our surroundings, we fill it with our own notions. The physical objects or bodies are constant, independent of our interpretations of their meaning. Without these simplifications, we would not be able to maneuver in the complexity of the world. But at the same time, it makes us see or experience only a fraction of our environment. Based on this, I want to create images where the viewer can see it anew. I do this by depicting objects from a new angle and by putting them in a new context. Hopefully, past notions are replaced and the meaning of familiar objects gets an opportunity to expand. In this way, a new contact can be created between the objects and the viewer.’ Short bio: Erik Östensson was born in Sweden. In 2001, he studied at the International Center of Photography in New York (ICP). His work has frequently been exhibited in galleries, museums and festivals, among others at Umeå Konsthall (2016), Festival Circulations (2015) and at The Center for Photography in Stockholm (2013). He published two books: 'I will take care of you, Journal' (2012) and 'Untitled', Kehrer Verlag (2019). He lives and works in Stockholm/Oslo. http://www.erikostensson.com

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Diana Cheren Nygren | When the Trees are Gone

Diana Cheren Nygren | When the Trees are Gone

Jury member Ruth Stoltenberg about ‘When the Trees are Gone’: ‘Bathers between concrete, steel, and glass. Fragile creatures in modern urban space in search of a place to bathe or sunbathe. "When the Trees are Gone" is the title of the photo series by the American photographer Diana Cheren Nygren from Boston, Massachusetts. And because trees and green spaces are rare in the densely populated cities, their inhabitants find these recreational areas on the roofs of the high-rise buildings. Deep puddles have formed here in some places and the heavy clouds in the sky still bear witness to the rain and with their drama are an important design element. In this concentrated architecture, the people with their bathing utensils appear bizarre in sometimes frighteningly dangerous places, as if they did not belong here. And yet they all find the right position in Diana Cheren Nygren's complex pictorial compositions, almost as if they were placed right there. Theatrical stagings in front of carefully composed urban backdrops.’ Diana Cheren Nygren about her work: ‘Surroundings play a dominant role in shaping experience. I treasure the city and try to make space for quiet contemplation within it. Born out of three ongoing series, this series imagines city dwellers searching for moments of relief in a world shaped by climate change, and the struggle to find a balance between an environment in crisis and manmade structures. The question of the struggle between nature and the built environment is ever more central in urban life. In these images, relaxed beachgoers find themselves amidst carefully composed urban settings in front of dramatic skies. They search without seeming to find what they are looking for. The beach becomes rising tides, threatening the very foundation of the city. The clash of nature and city results in an absurd profusion of visual noise and little relief. The resulting images lay bare challenges to both my urban fantasy and to city planners, and the problematic nature of the future that lies ahead for humanity and the planet.’ Short bio: Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the visual character of place defined through physical environment and weather. Place has implications for our experience of the world, and reveals hints about the culture around it. Diana was trained as an art historian with a focus on modern and contemporary art, and the relationship of artistic production to its socio-political context. Her emphasis on careful composition in her photographic work, as well as her subject matter, reflects this training. Her current project, When the Trees are Gone, has been featured in Dek Unu Mag and Square Magazine, and won Best In Show in the exhibition Nurture/Nature juried by photographer Laura McPhee, and tied for second in the Juried Members' Exhibition at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts. Her photographs have received numerous honorable mentions from the Lucie Foundation and have been included in a number of juried exhibitions at Subjectively Objective, PhotoPlace Gallery, the Midwest Center for Photography, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, PH21 Gallery in Budapest, Arlington Center for the Arts, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Curated Fridge. https://www.dianacherennygren.com

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Magdalena Stengel | ±100

Magdalena Stengel | ±100

Jury member Ingo Taubhorn about ‘±100’: ‘It is a privilege of documentary photography that it still has the ability to tell something about the state of our time. The aging society is preoccupying Magdalena Stengel: ‘People at this age are often perceived or portrayed as frail and weak, and yet it is precisely these people who possess a remarkable degree of resilience, strength, and willpower’. (Stengel) In her outstanding series ‘±100’, Stengel shows us women and men in old age who are still able to cope with their everyday lives independently. Her sensitive portraits, which she stages with virtuosity in dialogue with people, bear witness to a great empathy and give me the opportunity to recognise life's achievements and experiences and to pay respect to the portrayed people. But her series is not only focused on the silent picture. In small video clips, the very elderly comment on a time that seems to be out of the ordinary with little tricks. Worth seeing. The series, a masterpiece.’ Stengel about her work: ‘The number of centenarians has more than doubled in the last ten years, and this number is expected to increase rapidly in the future. Every third girl born in 2019 will probably live to be over 100 years old. Many of these very elderly people still live independently in their homes today. What does daily life look like at the age of about 100 years? What keeps these people busy? What skills are perhaps only acquired at such a mature age? For ± 100 I accompanied between 20 and 30 people, travelled all over Germany, and visited them in their homes. People at this age are often perceived or portrayed as frail and weak. And yet it is precisely these people who possess a remarkable degree of resilience, strength, and willpower. ±100 tells of the end of life, of happiness and unhappiness, of war and peace, and of daily life within the most diverse realities and environments.’ Short bio: Magdalena Stengel was born in 1987 and grew up in Southern Germany. After a few years as an assistant in Stuttgart, she studied photography at the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund. From 2017-2020 she attended the master class of Ingo Taubhorn and Prof. Ute Mahler at the Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin. Today she lives and works in Bremen and Hamburg. https://www.magdalenastengel.com

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