THE ILLEGAL IMAGE – Photography between self-censorship and image prohibition

5. February 2020
5. April 2020

With works by: Merry Alpern, Jan-Dirk van der Burg, Espen Eichhöfer, William E. Jones, Carola Lampe, Beat Streuli

Today, more than ever, taking photos and being photographed are part of our daily life. And yet, those who take pictures of passers-by without asking for permission run the risk of being sued. Photographs taken without the consent of the person portrayed are in conflict between the personal right and that of artistic freedom. Thus, the following questions arise: What is more important, the right to one’s own image or the right to take pictures? Where are the ethical boundaries of photography? Where does artistic freedom end? 

In 2018 the Berlin-based photographer Espen Eichhöfer was confronted with an injunction suit after having publicly exhibited a photograph – which he took – of a woman on the street. This case, which makes clear how important a current confrontation with the issue of street photography is, finally ended before the Federal Constitutional Court. 

THE ILLEGAL IMAGE offers a range from secretly taken snapshots and pictures that underwent censorship, to socio-critical reports as well as conceptual works. Six artistic positions illuminate the question of legal and illegal images – in between social taboos, societal relevance and artistic freedom. 

The exhibition is curated by Espen Eichhöfer, Katharina Mouratidi and Natascha Pohlmann.

Photo: © Espen Eichhöfer.