Autogram Duo, Berlin, 2014 (© Klaus Mitteldorf)
Berlin Face, Berlin, 2013 (© Klaus Mitteldorf)
Fashion Duo, Paris, 2014 (© Klaus Mitteldorf)
Tati Tricolore Duo, São Paulo, 2015 (© Klaus Mitteldorf)
The Kiss Duo, Milan, 2013 (© Klaus Mitteldorf)

Fashion Photographer Klaus Mitteldorf Captures the Chaos of Modern Identity

These images evoke a world of endless distraction

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“It’s very tense. People wait for hours to see their idols,” observes Klaus Mitteldorf, who took this photo (Autogram Duo) of autograph-seekers queuing to meet the actress Jennifer Connelly at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival. The Brazilian-born Mitteldorf, 62, whose latest book, Next, comes out this month, uses digital manipulation to represent his anonymous subjects’ imagined internal lives. “I try to create an identity for them,” he says, explaining that this chaotic scene, layered upon itself several times, reminded him of “a fight.” Though Mitteldorf makes a living as a fashion photographer, he has experimented with this technique since the 1980s, when altering photographs involved scissors and glue, and his latest project has an almost anti-aesthetic quality. Lacking any obvious focal point, these images may frustrate and even exhaust the eye—reflecting, Mitteldorf says, the anxiety and divided attention of our media-frenzied age.

About Amy Crawford
Amy Crawford

Amy Crawford is a Michigan-based freelance journalist writing about cities, science, the environment, art and education. A longtime Smithsonian contributor, her work also appears in CityLab and the Boston Globe.

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