The Swiss photographer Michael von Graffenried is a master of the panorama. This format is historically linked to landscapes but this Bernese man uses it in a completely different way. He takes advantage of it to include as much as possible of life, action and tension in his frame, whether the photographer be in the casbah in Algiers, the Oktoberfest in Munich or the drug scene in his native village.
Von Graffenried holds his camera at the level of his navel and shoots blind, unnoticed by the people around him. Because he’s very tall and experienced, his navel is an excellent eye.
A book and an exhibition in Brazil show his latest work, produced during the preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It’s about the construction of the stadiums, the creation of infrastructures, the pacification of the favelas. In short, giving the illusion of order in the chaos, of prosperity in insecurity.
Michael Von Graffenried expands his field of vision to violence, police repression, social inequality, forced labour. Such as those who pull weeds out of the Olympic golf course, one by one, by hand. This is what good photography is all about: not being fooled. And this photography will last: the Rio Olympics are finished, but Michael von Graffenried’s pictures will retain their relevance.
Michael von Graffenried, Changing Rio
Through September 30, 2016
Espaço Cultural Maison
Rio de Janeiro
Livre aux éditions Slatkine