A Master’s Work—Now Available in PDF Form

With Neue Welt, Wolfgang Tillmans released one of the best books of last year. If you haven’t already bought it, I can recommend it without reservation. Still, if you’re looking to get an introduction to Tillmans’ work, you would do well to download some of the PDFs that Tillmans has just uploaded to his website. There are seven files in total, and they provide an excellent survey of Tillmans’ work to date. Hop to it!

Aside from the beautiful photographs that you would expect from Tillmans, there are also a series of worthwhile texts in the catalogs. The 2010 Serpentine Gallery catalog, for example, has a very good interview in which Tillmans offers some insight into his start as a photographer. The interviewer notes, “There is a new digital presence in your work. How did this come about?” Tillmans responds, “The funny thing is that I only really ended up being a photographer through the discovery of the first digital photocopy machine in 1986 in a copy shop in my home town, where I then started making art with photocopiers. And the potential of this digital printing – printing after scanning – allowed me to discover photography as my language.”

Another PDF worth checking out is Why We Must Provide HIV Treatment Information, a photographic report from a 2010 conference held in South Africa on the subject of HIV treatment. Tillmans’ photos always have a direct quality about them, and here he gets out of the way of the subject material.

I’m curious to see whether other photographers will follow suit. After all, once a book is out of print, the photographer doesn’t have anything left to gain from sales on the secondary market. It’s possible they might anger some collectors, but perhaps that’s worth the benefit of simply having their work seen by more people. Time will tell.