Dagmar Keller
DEAR TO ME (Book Dummy)

Size: 32,5 x 22cm
144 Seiten, 119 Abbildungen

The book DEAR TO ME comprises my photographic portrait series of people video chatting in public/private spaces and includes a personal preface in German and English.

The photographs have been taken in 2018 at the so-called Bund in Shanghai, the waterfront along the Huangpu River directly opposite the iconic Pudong skyline. Thousands of people streamed here, especially in the evenings. Many seemed excited and almost euphoric at the sight of the skyline and wanted to share this emotional moment with their loved ones back home. While they transmitted their live image of the Bund via video chat to their distant living rooms, they carried the live image of their conversation partners from the private space, where they would have been protected from the eyes of strangers, on their illuminated smartphone displays into the public space. Private and public spheres blurred right before my eyes.

The scenes I was thus able to photograph from the public space were by no means exotic, but seemed familiar, even universal to me: Fathers kissing their children goodnight from afar; teenagers flirting; couples giving each other longing looks; people jolted from sleep by the call and rubbing their eyes in wonder.

Accelerated by the pandemic, in this country, too, larger and larger parts of our lives are shifting into virtual space, and questions about demarcation lines of private and public spheres have to be renegotiated.
In DEAR TO ME I highlight how private and public space are interpenetrated by digital technology. Thus, my photographs inevitably raise questions about personal rights versus „freedom of art.“ With the planned publication DEAR TO ME I would like to contribute to the debate on these virulent questions.