Untitled, from American Pixels (2009-2010)

Jörg Colberg - Untitled, from Ex Libris Strom, 2010

Jörg Colberg - Untitled, from More Cooling Towers (2010)

Jörg Colberg - Untitled, from The Fall (2010-2013)

Jörg Colberg - Untitled, from The Trip I (2013)


My practice as a photographer has come to embrace a wide variety of approaches to working with images. In part this development is due to the fact that as someone who writes about the medium on a regular basis, I look at photography as much as I think about it. As a consequence, photography itself has come to mean a lot of things to me, the various aspects of which exclude each other or speak of different things only on the surface. In reality, what a photograph is or where it comes from does not matter to me any longer. What it does, what one feels when being subjected to it – that is what I am concerned with.

My artistic practice derives from treating photographs as part of a repository, from which they can be drawn for different purposes. This statement is true both for the photographs I take with my own cameras (let’s call this my straight photography), and for the images I appropriate from other sources (the appropriated/experimental work). In my practice, each and every photograph ends up living in an archive first, before it is being pulled out to work in a project. I rarely take photographs and immediately use them in a very specific context. Instead, I produce photographs on a regular basis and file them away, to then work on them later.

This description is true for both the straight photography I have produced and for the appropriated or experimental work I have been working on. The straight photography has been subjected to sitting in my archive, often for years, with new layers being added with time. I am not sure whether there would be a concise way of describing my interests in this part of my work other than saying that I find myself caught with a seemingly endless loop of disenchantment and re-enchantment with the world. I want the world to have more opportunities than what I perceive as being there. The friction between wanting something and feeling rejected (or, occasionally, dejected) has – so far – provided the driving force behind my straight photography.

My appropriated or experimental work focuses on similar or related issues, but it approaches them from the image itself first. Photography is a magical medium: It can make us see things that aren’t even there (metaphorically speaking); and I believe it speaks more strongly of our desires than of what is in front of the camera. When taking images originally produced by other people and transforming them, I bring focus to aspects of what I see happening. These aspects might or might not be in the original work. This does not matter to me, because I have to be able to claim complete authorship for this endeavour to make sense intellectually for me. My main task is to use images as visual source material from which to cull completely new meaning (when I feel provocative, I talk about an amplification of meaning). Here, the (dis- and re-) enchantment in part deals with the medium itself, and how much (or little) it can actually do.