D & S

color slide installation, 1997 — 2000
Sound: John Parish

The color photo series, D & S, relates to the life of an American couple, whose private sphere is demonstrated to the outside through patterns of behavior, which can be seen as the result of current gender discourses. The title of the work recurs on the initials of the first names of both protagonists but could as well be read as a designer label in the context of contemporary fashion aesthetics, which emanates in the course of this photographic work.

What has happened in the context of lifestyle photography since the 1990s is often understood as a reaction to the theory-induced dissolution of traditional gender roles as well as the existence of androgynous personality components: On the one hand, models are shown in natural environments to evade the artificial reality of studio settings, on the other, the changing representation of gender roles leads to a non-definable and thus often artificially looking presence. D & S follows this approach, however, representing daily encounters in the praxis of a gender-disintegrating concept of life.

Unlike magazine photography, which develops its own scenarios to construct reality, the reality in D & S evolves through the interaction of the protagonists themselves. The photographic device thus turns into an accompanying instrument, which consciously takes up its medially pre-defined role to document the continuously changing action at any given moment. On a formal level, the work consists of staged situations as well as snapshot scenes, exploring the limits of analogue photography as well as the leveling dispositions of masculinity and femininity. The latter is also emphasized through an endless loop, discussing the subtle transitions from a lived reality to (re-)constructed forms of existence.