Andreas H. Bitesnich is an artist and photobook collector based in Austria.
Episode 73: I remember distinctly the first time that I came across Andreas H. Bitesnich‘s work. The memory is vivid. It must have been 1997 or 1998 as I perusing the local Barnes & Noble bookshelves in Onalaska, Wisconsin. I had just found my way to photography from the clutches of sculpture and took an interest in the photographed human form as a possibility for sculptural interrogation. It was the same time that I found William Ewing’s excellent book “The Body: Photographs of the Human Form”. I remember that these two titles were specifically not placed on the porny shelf at the B&N, a space reserved for Eric Kroll and Hugh Hefner.
I finally met Andreas in 2016 in Vienna at the sadly defunct Vienna Photobook Festival run in part by Regina Anzenberger, whose gallery had taken space in the Bröt Fabrik Wien just under Ost Licht‘s space. I met Andreas outside at the festival amongst a group of fellow book enthusiasts and when introduced, had a the pleasing reverie of recounting the tale of his permanently tattooed book in my thoughts from that Autumn day in Wisconsin. Affable, kind and generous to the point of disbelief, Andreas and I hit it off and I have since bumped into him at airports and photobook meetings in Vienna sponsored by Regina. I have to say that Andreas is a rare bird. At once someone I respect through his deep knowledge and upending kindness, I can think of only a few humans of his caliber in our field. That might sound a bit gushing, but it is with sincerity that I offer a potentially consternating appraisal of my character through my gratitude of Andreas.
Andreas is self-taught, comes from a humble background and is entirely successful in both his artistic investigations as well as his commercial operations. He has worked with Phillip Glass. He is also a musician who is well-travelled and has somehow managed to find the time to make a book of work on Greenpeace which we speak about in the episode. On top of all of this, he is along with Josef Chladek (also in Vienna) one of the more generous advocates of collecting photobooks. They both respectively run incredible sites devoted to the research and study of the medium of the photobook. Andreas runs Achtung.Photography and Josef runs the Virtual Bookshelf. Please familiarize yourself with their generous efforts.
In our episode, we spoke about Andreas’ career and his humble beginnings in the medium. We spoke about his travels and the book-making experience as well as his collection. I count this hopefully to be the first of several conversations with Andreas. We are quietly planning an episode on Robert Frank’s The Americans. More on that as it develops…