From left to right: Face to Face, Scene of Crime ©Thomas Bachler
Smile, Point, and Shoot. Literally.
It is no coincidence that the verb “shoot” is used when in reference to taking pictures. Somehow, the action of shooting a gun and a camera is similar: the photographer chooses its target, focuses, and captures an image. He can miss a fleeting moment the same way a shooter would miss a flying pheasant. And much like with a gun, there is also a sense of power that comes from maneuvering a camera.
Thomas Bachler takes the idea of photoshooting to another level. In his series Scenes of Crime, the viewer can observe that the photographs are all pierced by gun holes. That is because the German photographer captures his images with a gun. The process is creative, but actually quite simple. Once he has chosen his framing, Bachler positions a box in front of the “scene” and shoots a hole into it, thus transforming the box into a pin-hole camera. This allows enough light inside the cube, which Bachler covers with light-sensitive chemicals, to record a negative. The result is a blurry, black and white image of a place that becomes the evidence for a crime scene.
However, Bachler does not stop at shooting places. During the exhibition of his work, the lucky visitors had the opportunity to experience his process first hand. Bachler invited his guests to sit in front of his camera box and shoot at it –and therefore at themselves. The suicidal aspect of his experiment reshapes the context of the photographic experience as a whole, and one enters his exhibitions reborn with a much more piercing eye.