Jörg Colberg is a German photographer and writer on photography based in America.
Episode 122: Jörg Colberg is a colleague and somebody whose work I respect with high regard. I have been a fan of his on-line blog Conscientious for many years. Conscientious was a very early blog about photography and notably the photobook- a format that Jörg is not only familiar with, but who has literally written the book on it as a medium with a consideration to its function and physical potential. I would consider Jörg something of a scholar in the medium of the photobook.
In this episode, we speak about two books that Jörg has published this year. First, we spoke about his new book published by MACK entitled Photography’s Neoliberal Realism. It is a book that challenges our preoccupation with the medium to include, through the specific example of three artists, our reliance on photography to prop up a realism indebted to the service of the neoliberal order and capitalist agenda. Jörg makes a convincing argument throughout the book about photography’s dubious role as an agitprop for these agendas.
The second book that we spoke about was his new book Vaterland(Kerber Verlag), his first published book of work that reflects his interests in the political condition of his native Germany as it swings towards a more centrist and right-wing political discourse echoing all the fears of the country’s historical twentieth century roots. The book is reduced and minimal ode to the tradition of German photography and easily takes its place between Michael Schmidt’s Waffenruhe and perhaps 89/90. It is a book that foreshadows Europe’s potential wander towards chaos based on its rise to populism. I will be covering it further n American Suburb X soon.
Jörg and I spoke about his books at length, but we also spoke about writing about photography, a pursuit we both share. We discuss the mechanical aspects, but also our individual approach.
We also speak about how Photoland operates without many critics and yet is a community full of critical personas. This part of the conversation is one that I enjoyed the most as I think that photography is missing critics. We have academics, we have passionate collectors and artists, but we have very few people who will put their money where their mouth is to discuss work especially in its opposition.
Please tune in and enjoy. I had a great time speaking with Jörg and look forward to more in the future.