Uwe H. Martin


Contemporary German Photography


This photo looks like some sort of conceptual photo piece (think something coming out of Rietveld Academie). It isn’t. It’s not staged. It’s part of Uwe H. Martin’s series about narcolepsy. The woman in the photo, Lisa, suffered from an episode of cataplexy, “a condition whereby the sufferer or cataleptic experiences a total loss of muscle control and postural tone.” Martin quotes Lisa as saying “I had a full cataplexy in Aarau. I was lying on the street, not being able to talk or act. For other people it looks as if I am unconsciousness [sic!] and many just stare or walk by. Someone just pushed me a bit with his shoe. Well you need to be careful - it could be something poisonous on this woman.” After making sure that everything was in fact OK, Martin asked her whether he could take a photo (she was able to blink - once for yes, twice for no), and she said he could (see this interview, unfortunately only in German).