CHANGE, A PHOTO SERIES BY RALF GRAEBNER
Medium: Digital multi exposure capture, digital chromogenic prints, 72“ x 72“ (182cm x 182cm) face-mounted behind UV-cut plexiglas, aluminum backer.
'Change' is a series of very large and extremely detailed photographs depicting used American quarters that I found on the streets of New York City. The prints reveal rich textures and colors unique to each coin as they were exposed to various different and harsh environments over time.
These quarters had been lost or were discarded for being dirty, used-up, and not worth keeping. For me, they are precious little artifacts that captured time and convey a facet of our history. I am fascinated by the metamorphosis of these coins, from looking identical at the time they were minted to becoming unique and wildly differing objects when I found them.
I have always been captivated by visually rich textures and intricate detail. This fascination made me want to become a photographer. While studying photography at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, I learned about the 'New Objectivity', a conceptual style I found a perfect fit for my visual sensitivity. Adopting some of the style’s ideas and beliefs, I imagined a distinctive photographic goal: to create pure, objective, larger-than-life depictions of subjects while avoiding visual subjectivity (like odd camera angles or shallow depth of field), instead letting the subjects 'speak for themselves' merely through their presence and clarity of detail.
An inherent aspect of my photography is pushing the limits of what is technically possible. Over time, I have developed a method of taking pictures that lets me overcome optical limitations immanent in traditional photography. Similar to the technique used for CT (computerized tomography) scans, each of my final images is composed out of thousands of thin image slices.
The amount of detail captured through this process allows me to create very large prints with a visual richness, presence, and three-dimensionality that is hard to be described and best to be experienced. The photographs entice viewers to come up close and let their eyes wander over the almost abstract topography of these objects with which we thought we were so familiar. They invite us to spend time exploring, discovering, comparing. In doing so, the viewer’s sensitivity and awareness increases.
With 'Change', I want to share my passion for texture and detail. This photographic series represents the essence of why I became a photographer.