Talent of the Year 2020 - FINALIST: Rafael Heygster Helena Manhartsberger
Photo © Rafael Heygster Helena Manhartsberger
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Like Freddy Mercury asks in his song Bohemian Rhapsody „Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?“ we have often been con-fronted with the questions of what is actually happening around us and where the border between fantasy and reality lies, since the outbreak of the global Corona pandemic. For us the situation feels like a surreal dream in which we had to re-orien-tate ourselves every few days.Germany countered the pandemic with infrastructural measures, new rules of social distancing and a shutdown lasting seve-ral weeks. In this photo essay we combine different aspects and scenarios happening during Covid-19 in Germany like in the song bohemian rhapsody different music genres are combined and open to interpret. We are interested in the tension bet-ween public life, the apparatus behind it and the people/subjects who move in this space. In a critical way we reflect on the measures taken to prevent the worst, how the crisis is communicated in the media and how it is possibly instrumentalised for political purposes. We have chosen a theatrical pictorial aesthetic to play with our ideas of pandemic and crisis our surreal feelings and also the self-inscination of institutions.Our aim is not to bring out the individuality of the people photographed but rather to show them like film characters or avatars in video games. Even if we keep a critical eye on the current events it is important for us to say that it is not about ex-posing people or making fun of what is without question a very serious situation.With „Corona Rhapsody“ we want to show and question how the current pandemic is presented by media or perceived in public, to what extent this coincides with subjective experiences and how we will remember the corona crisis in future.
IMPORTANT: This is a collaboration between the two photographers Rafael Heygster and Helena Manhartsberger. We are a team of two authors.
Rafael Heygster (1990) is a freelance photographer based in Hannover and Bremen, Germany. From 2010 to 2015 he studied cultural anthropology and political sciences at the University of Hamburg. Since 2015 he studies photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover and at DMJX in Aarhus. In his work, he focuses on the relation between individuals and their social, cultural and ecological environment. His works have been awarded and exhibited internationally. In addition to his independent long-term projects, he works on commission for editorial clients, agencies, companies and NGOs.
Helena Manhartsberger studied International Development in Vienna and photojournalism and documentary photography in Hanover and Aarhus.
Her thematic focus is on the interface between politics, society and gender issues. She has worked in Sudan and Indonesia, among others. Her reportages have been exhibited internationally.