RAFAEL HEYGSTER / HELENA MANHARTSBERGER
Like Freddy Mercury asks in his song Bohemian Rhapsody „Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?“ we have often been confronted 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 reorientate ourselves every few days. Germany countered the pandemic with infrastructural measures, new rules of social distancing and a shutdown lasting several 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 between 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-inscenisation 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 the media or perceived in public, to what extent this coincides with subjective experiences and how we will remember the corona crisis in future.
Rafael Heygster (1990) is a freelance photographer from Germany. He studied cultural anthropology in Hamburg and photojournalism in Hannover and 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.
Helena Manhartsberger (1987) is a multimedia journalist from Austria. She 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.