Pedro Rosa Mendes on Wolf Böwig’s Photojournalism

I strongly believe – having never discussed this much with him – that Wolf’s uniqueness derives from his photojournalism being a radical form of self-overcoming. He’s saved from nihilism albeit living a lifetime in close encounters with different forms of human bestiality. There is thus a quality of the superman who built „a power over oneself and over fate“, which has „penetrated to the profoundest depths and become instinct“ (On the Genealogy of Morals).


T.E. Lawrence, whom we are both very fond of, sensed madness near, even if in the form of wisdom and alterity, as „it would be near to the man who could see things through the veils at once of two customs, two cultures, two environments“ (Seven Pillars of Wisdom).

Borderlines of all kinds, from mental to political to cultural, are central to Wolf’s account of the human nature we all inhabit and share. It is that inherent madness that he crudely displays, with layers of historical, political, emotional and linguistic complexity.

Throughout Wolf’s extensive body of work, human reality emerges as revelation, vary rarely as exposure, whereby each photographic moment captures the accumulation of references that define a sense of individual, collective and social identity – identity being that ultimate sovereign form of madness over one’s self.

3quarksdaily, 15th january 2018

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