Posts Tagged ‘What Remains’


What Remains; Photo by Chantal Riekel

Chantal Riekel’s images portray someone she never knew.

She’s photographing old snapshots, newspaper clippings and hand
written prose to portray her grandfather, Harald Bratt.

Bratt was an Austrian screenwriter during World War II who kept a diary
compiling newspaper articles, hand written entries and family pictures.

Riekel’s pictures show the diaries and Bratt through her

“I don’t want to illustrate,” she said. “Just hint.”

Family Mysteries

Riekel loves the search.

She wants her pictures to communicate this longing.

“We all have secrets in our families,” she said. “Hopefully,
[viewers] can identify with this feeling of searching for someone.”

Riekel says that Bratt was not the screenwriter’s family name but a
stage name.

She wants to find out why he chose Bratt over Riekel, the family’s

Riekel’s Influences

The diary project is part of her masters in photography at the University of

Peter Beard is one of Riekel’s influences.

Like Beard she often works with text and images simultaneously.

The biography on Beard’s website says he began keeping a diary when he was young
and photography became part of his diaries

Beard’s site biography says he worked in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park in the early 60s,
photographing the depletion of elephant and Black Rhino populations.

Many of the photographer’s final images are similar to scrap books.

The borders of the images are collections of other pictures,
text and paint.

World War II

A couple of Bratt’s diary entries are vivid for Riekel.

She mentioned one where her grandfather addresses her father,
then three years old.

Bratt wrote that he hoped his son would never be pulled into the

Another entry where Bratt describes Russian soldiers
that had occupied his house during the war.

The men drank wine from a petrol canistaer.

Burnt Paper

Chantal Riekel recently exhibited one of her images at Transform,
a gallery show at Ferreira Projects for the second annual westPhoto/
grafiche antiga Photo Prize.

The image, “What Remains” features some burnt paper over the pages
of Bratt’s diary.

Like some of Beard’s work, the image addresses a sinister darkness that
drives a large historical event.

Italian printer grafiche antiga printed the image and many others entered
in Transform in a catalogue.

Harald Bratt’s words have been published again.

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Click here to go to Andrew Otto’s personal blog.


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