Out of Joint
Martin Liebscher pans his camera, moves it through space, or focuses it on moving
objects. He comes upon his motifs in large cities, in his own natural habitat, as
it were. Liebscher has modified his camera - a Praktika made in former East Germany
- to enable him to feed an entire film through by hand while the shutter remains
open. He calls the long drawn-out pictures which arise as a consequence „panorama
pictures“. Taking an average exposure time of 15 seconds, three or four pictures
can be produced per film. The various points of focus are a product of how fast and
in what direction he moves the camera. Between these points, spatial axes collapse
and contours blur, with some images superimposed on others. While classical photography
records a moment, Martin Liebscher,s panorama pictures border on film by lending
that moment a dramatic quality.
For Liebscher, who for many years worked as a cinema projectionist, these strange
optical effects possess a highly aesthetic quality, exuding a strong grain of spontaneity.
After all, what each exposure will create is something he cannot estimate with accuracy
At the same time, the panorama pictures are supposed to replicate how we see. The
moving, panning camera replaces the eyes.
„We never focus on everything in our field of vision,“ says Liebscher. “Our eyes
are in constant motion. They scan the world around us, lose themselves in details,
and then let them go again. My works document this fact.,, The camera,s frequent
change of direction leads to the typical sense of blurring, protraction and contraction
encountered in Liebscher,s landscape formats. Not only do they imbue the subjective
moment of perception with a new authenticity, they also show the world from a radically
modern perspective. The world dissolves into a strip of asynchronous optical stimuli.
All angles become transient in a world bereft of stability.