On our joined as well as on our individual forays through the most divers image archives, we come, on some work intensive days, across several thousand images. We look at them and categorize them at a glimpse. Most of the time, we view them in small versions on computer screens, in digitized catalogues of image collections, in libraries or on our own computers. Depending on our search criterias, we are caught by a couple of them, we make a quick decision and put them in a temporary folder. While looking at this preselection, now in a bigger window, some images catch us. Something in them speaks to us, be it visible or not, something in them addresses us. How is this possible? Who speaks to us? Who has recorded this speaking and how is it possible that we receive it?
We imagine that various flexible positions are part of every photograph. There is the photographer following a commnission or motivation. There is something or somebody photographed, partaking in the process actively or passively, maybe in accordance. There is the mediator who has made the photograph accessible in an archive, a publication, or an exhibition. She has maybe commissioned the photograph, maybe multiplied it, distributed it or given it as a gift. And there are the viewers, the audience.
Are these multiple positions, that might as well overlap, the reason for us being addressed? In how far is the extent of our participation as viewers who watch the photograph like a film and not only simply look at it, partly decisive for the sending and the receiving of an image?