The Last Year of Childhood
Package from Tokyo
„The Last Year of Childhood“, the new photo book by the Cologne artist Ute Behrend, tells of the transition between childhood and adulthood. It gathers images from the mysterious realm between carelessness and strangeness - and it is a product of a Japanese-German Cooperation: The publisher, Powershovel Books from Tokyo, had Ute Behrend invited to an experiment with analog photography. The artist received several cheap cameras - and opted for the large version of the former Chinese People's camera '"Holga". It was the beginning of a multi-year project, which ended with „The Last Year of Childhood“.
The "Holga" meets the secret desire of photographers after a nearness to painting. Characteristic for the Holga are technically deficiency like blur or vignettings which remind of old photographs. Admittedly, not on every time its become the meeting beetween acident and ästetik. This cheap camera gives the images a nostalgic enamel which seems to correspond to the emotional subject too much. But Ute Behrend knows how to tame the Holga. She adopt the technical possibilities virtuosic without lapsing into sentimentality use. She comes to telling about people.
The people from the narrative which are in this way watched are moving through time and through space. But there is yet a third motion, the motion of the narrative images itself. They suggest on every time new ways of thinking about perception, touch, solitude and community, intimacy, and masking. They pull into the responses to the people and their environment a new level: They reflect, that our consciousness even if the child or adult, is hardly not more than a rather imprecise camera that you always carry around with you. Ute Behrend shows not only a dreamy story about the loss of childhood, but also a hyper-alert essay on the photography itself.