Germany discovers the smoky loft (or not)



Well, what do you know! The current (March 2007) edition of German photo magazine Photonews features a long article about photo blogs entitled “The smoky loft” (actually, it’s called “Das verrauchte Loft”), which, sadly, is not available online. So if you’re here because you saw the link in that article herzlich willkommen!

It’s actually quite an interesting article (and I’m not saying that because the two blogs mentioned are mine and Alec’s), because one of the things that has puzzled me for a long time is this: Germany got one of the most interesting contemporary photography communities in the world, but at the same time there simply is no equivalent to the US blog scene. You’d imagine that all the Germans interested in discussions of photography would flock to existing blogs, but this doesn’t really seem to be the case. And you know, that’s just puzzling.

In the article in Photonews, there is some discussion on why that might be the case. Here’s another reason, my own personal explanation. When you look at the list of interviews in Photonews, it’s basically a long list of people with the prefix “Prof.” (should I be miffed they ignored my “Dr.”, which, just to show you some of the absurdities that still exist in Germany, is legally part of my name? Yes, that’s right, my German passport gives my name as “Dr. Colberg”, so I doubled the number of syllables in my last name when I got my Ph.D.) There’s just too much hierarchical thinking there. I think the main problem is not that there’s no talent (quite on the contrary!) or no interest (ditto!), but, instead, that people are too afraid to ignore hierarchies and to stick their heads out and get engaged - and this is probably true for most people, regardless of their position in that hierarchy. I really hope that this will change.

Update (11 March): As if to prove my point, a well known German photographer just turned down my request for an interview - through one of his representatives.