Untitled 2011-13

For ‘Untitled 2011–13’ , Putz photographed eight families, young mothers and their babies, most of whom are close friends, or friends of friends, living in one of the five cities — London, New York, Berlin, Paris and Vienna — where Putz has lived over the last eight years. At a time when new technologies and ever more mobile camera devices allow an increasing number of people to create images on the fly, there has been a proliferation in the number of photographs in circulation, especially ‘selfies’ and ones of family members. Photographs that were once destined for personal family albums flood the Internet and are now instantly and widely disseminated to a wider audience online, especially via social networks and blogs. Putz is in her mid-twenties and is one of the internet-savvy Generation Y, yet the young photographer is sceptical. “As a generation that seems to be ‘on air’ constantly, in a society that demands permanent communication and information, the camera can become very tiresome,” Putz comments. Set against a backdrop of “permanent surveillance”, she questions the “need to perform for the camera”asking whether “it is possible to work within the medium of photography and make a comment on intimacy and closeness without exposing anyone. I wanted to step back and create a feeling of intimacy through composition and the image itself, rather than telling the story of an individual,” she says. However, the images are carefully staged allowing Putz to attend to composition and colour to create “a layer of anonymity by transforming the subjects into sculptural forms”. Mothers and babies embrace and are held; torsos meld and limbs interlock to create intriguing forms where intimacy is suggested through the physical uniting of her subjects so that mother and child seem inseparable, as if one subject. When considering the final image, Putz references painting more than photography.The final photographs are printed to quite large formats so that the presence of the film grain is accentuated and revealed, which has the effect of “softening” the lines while also hinting at the painterly effect of Putz’s approach. In the end, Putz’s series is both refreshing and thought provoking, made more so by the challenges and questions that she sets herself. “I’m quite fascinated, but am also disturbed, by these times,” she remarks. “(…) it feels that moments are only worth something when they are constantly shared with others. How much is something worth when it only belongs to me? When I have only experienced it for myself. On the one hand I’m working with photography, a medium that deals to a great extent with this ‘moment’ of presentation and exposure at the same time, I think there is, a longing for privacy, for anonymity, for moments of someone being with themselves, for themselves, rather than for someone else. Untitled 2011–13 was also about trying to work against an invasion of privacy as much as possible, when photographing something that is, ultimately, intimate.” Putz series ‘Untitled 2011-13’ will be exhibited at the Photographers Gallery in London as well as at the MoCP-Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicaco at ‘Home Truths’ curated by Susan Bright.                            Text by Miranda Gavin, 2014

Untitled (N&N 1) , 2013 / Untitled Speakesculpture by Manfred Grübl, 2009
Untitled (Nave 2) , 2011
Untitled (LL 1 ) , 2012
Untitled (NN 6) , 2013
Untitled (A.M. 1), 2011
Exhibition view 'Home Truths' at the Photographers Gallery London , 2013.Exhibiting artists Leigh Ledare, Janine Antoni, Hanna Putz, Elinor Carucci, Elina Brotherus, Ana casa Broda, Fred Hüning, Katie Murray. Photographers Gallery, 2013.'Untitled 2011-2013' has been exhibited at the Photographers Gallery (UK), MOCP (US) & LENTOS Museum (AT) and is the winner of the Rennaissance Photography Prize (UK) for Best Series 2013.