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A Closer Look - Story/No Story

Story/No Story by Tobias Zielony
The images in Story/No Story by Tobias Zielony cover 13 projects and just as many locations, but all are bound by their focus on youth and the spaces they find to congregate. While they are shot all over the world, they are tied by the economic conditions of the locations, architecture and flora change, but the feeling of these places are very similar. The images are of kids who populate parking lots and garages, gas stations, street corners and vacant spaces, enacting tableaus on a nightly basis in dead spaces made alive by their very presence. No text explains what's going on in these images, it's clear. They are kids hanging out, as kids do everywhere in the world, meeting in the odd places that they can make their own during the hours in which they assemble, creating their own world in these anonymous spaces. "Juveniles mostly seek out utterly mundane, interchangeable places. But what produces these similarities? Is it the locations? Is it a certain attitude towards life or the social circumstances these kids live in? Or is it the things they consume: the music the films, or the clothes they buy?" Zielony asks in the interview in Story/No Story.

Shot over the course of ten years and presented chronologically, the images become more refined in their technique as the book progresses but retain the vitality and intimate quality of the earlier images. Zielony's interest seems to shift as well, including more portraits than images of packs of kids, and more shots of their surrounding, desolate and often cast in the weird tones of street lamps. The images are mostly shot at night and in the transitional hours, mostly outdoors, and always using available light, and that light is a striking feature of these images. It is a mixture of natural with the harsh and strange tones of artificial, and adds a cinematic quality.

From Story/No Story

From Story/No Story
 A sizable interview with Zielony by filmmaker Christian Petzold opens the final quarter of the book, printed in English and German. Though perhaps a little heavy in comments by Petzold, who frames the dialogue in the context of film, the interview adds considerable dimension to this work and is a valuable companion to the photographs. Zielony is a photographer who has spent much time thinking about the images he makes and in discussing aspects of his work touches on the sociological implications of what he captures and their relation to a larger global culture. It is a thoughtful book; both images and interview don't just reward re-reading, but encourage it. -- Sarah Bradley

From Story/No Story

Purchase Story/No Story here.