Twentythree Bankers by Jochen Manz
Published by White Press, 2009.
Softcover, 48pg. color
8" x 5.75"
Edition of 250
This is a special edition called 23 Bankers + 1 and comes with a 5" x 7" print
"With Twentythree Bankers, Jochen Manz moves the Ruscha typology into new territory. The photographs inside depict employees of the bank HSBC at a moment when the camera's shutter incidentally caught them with their eyes closed. A note on the publisher's website indicates that the book is dedicated to "Ed Ruscha and the so called 'Financial Crisis' of 2008/2009. and a blink." In fact, these images were rejects from a commission to make portraits of company leadership, made shortly before the crisis. Technically, they remain attractive pictures, with even lighting and a narrow depth of field that invite the reader to contemplate each visage. Although they fail to satisfy the original purpose of the setting, there is nothing grotesque about the images. Instead the photographs portray a moment of precariousness and vulnerability, in which the subject's self-composure for the camera has failed. In short, and with quite a political implications, these pictures portray people who are not entirely in control of their actions. Some of the bankers are smiling and laughing with remarkable sincerity. Others are poised as though withdrawing into the world of sleep or imagination. In reverie, meditation, or involuntarily "caught", they are undeniably human. For while Manz's book is well-deserved provocation to the perpetrators of global financial collapse, the gesture is leavened with sympathy." - Various Small Books, Phil Taylor