Torsten Schumann‘s photographs highlight the absurdity of life, that brief second in the day when chance creates a surreal juxtaposition, a moment of silliness, profundity, irony, a tell that exposes the world for what it is, a pointless journey towards inevitable death that’s intermittently interrupted by a comical situation that distracts us from our existential angst. The nightmare of ordinariness that we, as people, manage to turn into a drama of Greek proportions, full of tragedy and farce.
It’s on the streets of Germany that we find Schumann walking, his camera pointing at the most extraordinary collisions, his clever compositions catching us off guard, his formal aesthetic skewed by a mania, a euphoria that runs counter to the yawning boredom of suburban life. His pictures are full of delight, stupidity and irritation, of people trying to outwit their boredom yet blind to the magic that surrounds them. Perhaps this is the ultimate irony. In highlighting the utter pointlessness of life Schumann manages, through a visual act of dexterity, to reveal the magic and sublime comedy that makes it all worthwhile.
There are alot more pictures on Schumann’s site. Some you may consider better than these. Have a look. Take your pick. They’re organised into series but I have yet to figure out the connections. Perhaps this statement from him sums it up best. Or perhaps not:
Once, when taking photographs in a large hectic city I was stopped by a woman who, in a somewhat perplexed manner, asked me what I was photographing. A squirrel, I replied. The woman, surprised, couldn’t see a squirrel anywhere. Nevertheless, she nodded in satisfaction and went on her way.