Riding Turtles to Glory

Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs’ book _As Long As It Photographs It Must Be A Camera _made a huge impression on us in 2012, and it seems that we weren’t alone: last week, the Swiss-born, Berlin-based pair were awarded Foam’s annual Paul Huf Award. This means that, beyond the recognition of the award itself, they’ll also receive €20,000 and “a project with Foam,” which I imagine really means an exhibit.

From _The Great Unreal_

From The Great Unreal

A large of Onorato & Krebs’ appeal is their humor: although they trained in the serious environment of a European art school, they have a decidedly irreverent take on the conventions of photography. The photograph above is, indeed, an image of french fries overlooking the Grand Canyon. When I talked to Krebs last year, he discussed how this approach came about:

“At school, we had this professor, who came from a more hardcore approach to photography, a very German 1970s way of thinking about pictures. He was of the opinion that, in order to take good photographs, you had to have an interesting life, or hang out in some kind of interesting scene. Many people were struggling with this, because they felt their lives were too boring to become a good photographer. Taiyo and I wanted to change this by just using the imagination as the base of photography.”

Among other things, this approach led the pair to create cameras out of strange objects like turtles or African instruments, and to use their studio in unexpected ways. In the photograph seen below, you’re looking at a combined camera and darkroom; light enters through the lens, and strikes a piece of photo paper at the back of the black bag, which Krebs then processes while huddled inside. Needless to say, I’m not worried that the prize money will go to waste.

From _As Long As It Photographs It Must Be A Camera_

From As Long As It Photographs It Must Be A Camera