Photobook: The death comes later, maybe.
Fotobuch: Der Tod kommt später, vielleicht.

The book that lies on the table in front of me is very German. The tittle is German, the text is written in German by Germans and the photographs were taken by a German - the subject of the book, which could not be more German and as such very controversial in Germany: The German Armee.

Photographer Jörg Gläscher accompanied and observed German soldiers all over the globe for four years. From a comfortable distance and with tight and often unemotional compositions he succeeded to show the problematic situation of German troops and their deployment worldwide in a wonderful dense photo essay which leaves open this question: Do we need a German Army, do we need to fight for our freedom in Afghanistan, should Germans be allowed to go to war at all ?
These photographs are never depict the soldiers as heroic the way we know it from the usual reports about military life. These are images taken in the space between war and war games. Rarely do we know in which country the soldiers are or if the situation is serious or if they are just practicing. Leaving through the book I switch from astonishment to laughter to realizing how uneventful the life of a soldier can be. Showing this 'normality', with death always lingering above, is the strength of this book. Glaescher's photographs don't tell us what to think but they leave an open space for interpretation and possibly give us a better understanding about what it means to be a German soldier today.
The book works very well as an object too. The images are shown on the right page leaving the left page blank. The edit is very exciting and keeps me wanting to see the next page, which sometimes surprises with an almost absurd situation. Nothing is explained. The quality of Glaescher's photography and the associative sequencing make it a great book and the additional short stories by seven authors give me even more reason to reflect again upon the necessity of a German Army.

"Der Tod kommt später, vielleicht"
Kehrer Verlag
136 Seiten 
ISBN 978-3-86828-266-5

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