PhotoBook Lust: Brad Feuerhelm on Richard Peter, Dresden: eine Kamera klagt an
This is a web exclusive from the feature “PhotoBook Lust,” a collection of writing on photobooks and desire by artists, curators, and writers, first published in The PhotoBook Review 006. Read the Lust introduction by guest editor Bruno Ceschel.
PBR 006 will be shipped with issue 215 of Aperture magazine. Subscribe here.
Dresden: eine Kamera klagt an
Dresden, Germany, 1949
I can imagine what it is to wake up in a city like Dresden the morning after being carpet bombed by Allied forces in 1945, and to understand much of what Richard Peter’s Dresden: eine Kamera klagt an may have felt like to create. This book, when I discovered it in Germany in 2004, sent me reeling with inexplicable loss, but also a longing, a desire, to speak and see through that same leveling dust. I couldn’t help it—couldn’t stop the thought that, if I am honest with myself . . .
I desire the end of all things; I desire to become an unholy spectator striding amongst incalculable ruins with my only companions gleaming at me through hollowed eye sockets, strained grins pulled taut from their last gasping breaths. It is this aesthetic dysphoria that I desire. I desire to walk as a seer through a sprawling forest of gloom.
I seek to enumerate and catalogue all that will never be again through my own eyes, seeing and recreating a taxonomy of that which can never be sought by the world at large, and, in doing so, to feel truly alive in a world rent asunder by flame and fury. To be the only entity capable of speaking in tongues, to ears that cannot possibly listen. My desire is not orgiastic; my desire is eschatological, illogical in a quest to understand the end of all things. Somehow I have been here before . . . and I know that I will be here again. In this ecstasy I am able to navigate a rebirth negated by truant hope.
Brad Feuerhelm collects, deals, and writes about photography. His first book, a volume of the SPBH Book Club, was published in 2012 with Self Publish, Be Happy.