I was in Cologne for the opening of the PhotoBook Museum, a project that is finally coming to life thanks to publisher Markus Schaden and his wonderfully and strongly motivated team, including Frederic Lezmi who almost failed to make it to the opening. I heard about the project about a year ago, and during all this time, we have been planning, designing exhibitions and crossing our fingers so that the project would one day be real. I arrived to Cologne a few days before the opening to set up my exhibition in a container. Carolyn Drake, Todd Hiddo, Cristina de Middel, Ricardo Cases, David Allan Harvey, Andrea Diefenbach, Stephen Gill, Ed Templeton and a few more great photographers joined in, and we had a great time during the long working days. It seemed to me that things were too much upside down just a couple days before the opening, but Markus seemed completely confident. And he was right, as usual. It was magic to see how they were able to reproduce the famous Café Lehmitz and really use it as a bar. The opening was quite busy: maybe up to 2.000 people joined the event.
There were different exhibitions, set in various areas and structures. In the central area there were a group of shipping containers, each one containing an exhibition. The Pigs was in one of them, and I was super happy to see the container always crowded, full of people.
Just to give an idea of what the mood was like, I’ll only say that I danced to club music. The last time that had happened before, was when “club” was a word used mainly for men-only cigar smokers associations. Needles to say that the presence of Emaho Magazine editor, Manik Katyal and dancing king Wolfgang Zurborn was a decisive circumstance. I finally met Federica Chiocchetti who teamed up with other italian mobsters such as Andrea Botto. I met and had a nice conversation with Andrea Diefenbach and spent a lot of time with Marco Cortesi, director of Lugano FotoDays Festival, where my little pigs are travelling very soon.
I know what you're thinking: "are you ever going to stop dropping names?" Yes, I'm done.
I was also part of the jury for the Kassel Dummy Award. We met, we discussed, and we chose the 1+2 winners. Among the shortlisted there were grteat dummies. Some of them too overworked (don't do that, people) and others too amateur-looking on purpose (don't do that either). Kassel's director, Dieter Neubert wrote a short text containing the jury's basic outputs.
All in all I had a wonderful time, and I’m pretty sure that the PhotoBook Museum will have a long and healthy life after the temporary set will start its itinerancy. Keep your eyes open, and follow the containers trail. It won’t be difficult, as you may simply find them round the corner in one of the main photo meetings next year.