Christoph Burtscher

‘My Father is The Boss’ – A photographic diary of a child (1973-1983)

A bird comes flying by. A mother found a bird. She wanted to bring the little bird to Franz. But then the mother bird came. Oh no, the mother bird grabbed the baby bird from her hand. You see how much the mother bird loves the baby bird. A mother has lost her child. The child went up a mountain. The second kid stayed home. Then the firemen came. But they were afraid to go up the mountain. Then the mother went up the mountain. (Essay 1973)

Christoph Burtscher’s essay is an elementary school assignment, written by him when, as an eight-year-old boy, he started to take pictures. The photographs, like the sentences in the essay, form a stream of consciousness, one leading to the next and the next and the next, but the child who was holding the camera and writing the text has a very certain and specific point of view. In his photos eyes are shielded, backs are turned, clouds cover the sun, smiles are forced, or a child’s gesture can be confused with that of an adult. At the same time, there is some tenderness, hedgehogs are cradled in a small hand, the nape of a small child neck is caressed by the lens, there are blurs of movement as people dance, dizzying, and babies fly through the air. When Burtscher rediscovered the treasure of his childhood curiosity, the photographs in their new arrangement have gained a poetic force that opens into the present. (P. Elaine Sharpe)