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Prof. Gottfried Jäger

Book „The Art of Abstract Photography“


Stephan Reusse – Thermovision

In the photographic oeuvre of Stephan Reusse, his „Thermovisions” are one of three blocks of work to which he has added on a continuous basis ? the others being the „Pissflowers” and „artists‘ portraits”. The earliest „Thermovisions” date from Reusse’s student days in the early 1980s. At the beginning his motifs were in black-and-white, but from 1986 he produced only cibachrome prints sized 180 by 220 cm.

The „Thermovisions” are created by combining photography and thermography. The two processes are analogous: while the camera records light waves, the thermograph registers heat differences. The apparatus consists of a heat sensor connected to a computer. This converts the sensor data into an image that can be seen on the computer screen.

Reusse photographs the screen picture with a camera to obtain a negative from which his cibachromes can be printed. Forms with low temperatures appear on the screen in bluish colours, while high temperatures result in a range of colours from orange to white. An object does not necessarily have to be present for the thermograph to produce an image. It is sufficient if something has created an aura of heat. And this also applies to phenomena that are invisible by nature such as breath or a fart.

Photo historians will thus classify most of the „Thermovisions” as „phantom pictures”, while art historians will probably see them as a form of “Spurensicherung” [. . .].

Prof. Gottfried Jäger, Sept. 2001

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