Sandra Thier, a famous anchorwoman, television presenter and journalist, was skillfully portrayed by photographer Jörg Strunz: he didn’t create a classical portrait with his pictures but nevertheless manages to convey a lot of her character, first and foremost her strong personality.

Sandra Thier is shown in a setting consisting of classic cars: elegantly getting of a car, leaning against another to adjust a shoe or sitting at the wheel. The photographer moves at the border between portrait, fashion photography, advertising and film still. Even playing with typical stereotypes like the woman lying lasciviously on a car or the ladylike woman in the disorderly car repair shop, he manages to achieve unconventional photos.

Are we looking at a Bond girl, the protagonist of a crime or road movie? We are left in doubt and must imagine the sequence of the stories behind the images. Sandra Thier always seems to have been caught in the middle of one, embodying a role. The car classics not only underline the momentary situation in time, they also give a nostalgic flair, as do the accessories – showy gloves, handbags and shoes – which recall fashion of the sixties, like the metal-plate-dresses by Paco Rabanne. In his imagination the viewer might further develop a scenario which is only lightly suggested by the images.

In the balance between the portrayed, her clothes, accessories and the corresponding car it is finally the portrait which captivates most, as does her aloofness. The slight tension is to be felt, which reigns in the relationship between the photographer and a model that keeps aloof. This is the charm of these pictures which breathe a cool and subtle eroticism in the style of Hitchcock, lying more in her expression, face and gestures than in naked skin.


Revealing and Concealing

There is a woman sitting in gloomy atmosphere surrounded by coldness and dust, embodying lascivious grace. Her wardrobe causes the observer to speculate several possibilities: Is she sitting there lost in apathy and idleness, or is she expecting someone in particular with growing impatience – phoning her husband, her lover or her next client? But what does she hold in her hand? And what plans are taking shape in her mind? You do not know. It would not be hard imagining that, the next moment, Philip Marlowe – played by Humphrey Bogart - joins the scene in order to ask the suspicious lady unpleasant questions.

Let us have a look at the lady who is bristling up against the depths of the vault. Her stance is with confidence and anchored, the darkness can not hide the scantily dressed beauty’s determination – if anything, she refuses with a straight attitude and defiant insistence to get overpowered by the gloom. Which scene happened shortly before taking this photo? No matter what one is assuming – the lady‘s attitude is duped, humiliating everyone who is residing with her in a room, and the observer oneself is highly irritated due to the lady’s eerie contrary.

Such strong, dominating women surrounded by an aura of sublime-veiled and combative-aggressive erotic presence are characteristic for Jörg Strunz, a photographer from Koblenz. In refreshing contrast to other nude photographers, his style is influenced by austerity, elementariness and purism. He incorporates unpretentious devices, his sense of key location, while maintaining his distinctive instinct to compose images while concentrating on the essential – all resulting in keeping naturalism in his ingenuity. No gesture appears exaggerated, no attitude overdone; the miens do not dwindle into masks. Everything conforms itself precisely central, to the idea of the composition.

These authentic, atmospheric photos do not uncover their secrets at first sight, because they both reveal and conceal at the same time. It is also with the contrast of obscurity which contributes to the enigmatic attraction in his work. And whilst the artist’s work is done, the viewer‘s one does initiate.

Christoph Kupfer, Aachen
translated by Chantal Schwarzkopf, Koblenz

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