In Our Time
The places in the photos seem familiar, the people almost recognizable, the situations common, everyday. They show normality—so normal that it’s disconcerting. Where and when were the photographs taken? Who are the people in them? How are they connected? In the search for details that might provide answers, the viewer cannot find or decipher either meanings and identities, or relationships and histories in the photographs of Anne Lass. They are images of deindividualized people who find themselves in places devoid of history – documents of disorientation and interchangeability. Anne Lass’ skillful experimentation with anonymity and the lack of references is what makes her photographs so fascinating. Geographically determined locations play a subordinate role within the photographic series; the actual places where the photos were taken declines in significance. The same is true for the people in the photos, who one does not associate with any particular age group, social group, or nationality. Instead, the images awaken each viewer’s own visual memory, and start to blend and merge with his or her personal realities, images, and experiences. The concrete image functions as a prosthesis—a crutch for our memory. Even the precise attributions to places cannot stop the process of free association.
With their high contrasts, clear visual structure, restrained and almost cool, neutral tones, Anne Lass’ photographs do not seem so much random and casual as they do carefully planned and composed. Nevertheless, they emerge out of a “Bressonian” spontaneity. The occurrence is usually concentrated in the center of the image. The impression emerges that the people are actors, and that the space surrounding them serves merely as a stage. Oscillating between documentary and staged photographic practices, Anne Lass’ visual language addresses people’s alienation from nature due to urbanization—a fundamental theme in her work.