Basel in Portraits / Lucian Hunziker
Celebrities photographed in styles from Nadar to Leibovitz
By Boris von Brauchitsch
What a whirlwind tour through the history of portrait photography! So you might think from viewing the photo book “Basel in Portraits” by Lucian Hunziker. And the kind of people who were in Basel! From August Sander to Andy Warhol, from Henri Cartier-Bresson to David Lachapelle – the stars of the scene seem to have gathered in order to photograph Basel celebrities. The reality, however, is quite different.
A closer look reveals peculiar discrepancies: it is simply impossible that Roger Federer ever met Man Ray. After all, Man Ray died five years before Federer was born. And what about the architects Herzog and de Meuron and Richard Avedon, the experienced master of fashion photography? They would have had a lot to talk about – if they had ever met. The Basel photographer Lucian Hunziker decided to indulge his sense of humour by taking pictures of 59 celebrities from his hometown in a variety of styles inspired by famous photographers. However, this meticulously executed project has resulted in far more than a successful prank: a tribute to Basel and to the masters of the history of photography.
For each of today’s celebrities, Hunziker, with a chameleon-like adaptability, immersed himself in the world of another photographer and created refined showpieces which, again and again, construct a distinctive dialogue between the past and the present; between photographers and models who have never met in reality. The photo story thus becomes a highly entertaining one-man show of a special kind.
Each photograph reveals the pleasure Hunziker draws from reinventing the works of others and from propelling them into the present via famous models such as tennis player Roger Federer, Oscar winner Arthur Cohn, television presenter -minu, Sam Keller, the director of the Beyeler Foundation, or filmmaker Dani Levi. One thing is certain: never has there been such a journey through photographic history.
Exhibition in the Querfeldhalle Basel
From 9 to 20 April 2014
Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, entrance free
Price of the book: 82 Swiss francs
Prints of the portraits available in a limited and signed edition