My collection of webcam images has been put together over a period of 16 years. The archive
contains more than 4 million images, downloads from all continents - the world wide web
provides a lot. I photograph the world, using publicly accessible netcams, which give access
to public and private space.
Netcams document the world - without hesitation. They post images onto the net in an
alternating rhythm. Images appear briefly on the screen before being overwritten again and
again by subsequent images (these images are therefore authentic and straightforward)
Taking a picture by netcam means, that there is no conventional active photographer, who
selects the view with his camera. Image sections of netcams at public places stay determined
for many years. Also private cams constantly show the same environment.
This is unknown territory in the history of traditional photography too: Suddenly the camera
has a thousand eyes. Different lenses get connected to just one camera, which is taking
pictures steadily. The local screen assumes the role of the viewfinder, the mouse operates as
the trigger, and the netcam becomes the optical device.
Camera lens and camera viewfinder operate separately - different to a conventional camera -
sometimes continents apart. Camera lenses are embedded in a private or public environment.
The lenses stare at the incidents, outside wind and weather, fauna and flora, inside being
exposed to the impertinences of private cam users - behaving always with integrity. It is the
world itself that plays to the gallery. Not blind to the obvious, camera lenses document,
register, scan, deliver.
An authorless image-device, globalised photography.
The course of events forces itself upon the susceptible webcams. They provoke certain
pictures due to their relative autonomy and the method of construction. It is impossible to
produce such pictures with a conventional camera. Lens and viewfinder are separated by
distance - this condition makes the mentioned quality possible. Netcams are representative
reporters, embedded in the course of events. They report on everything.
Private netcams present intimate scenes to the public. They probably serve as a sort of
communication and ideally blend in to the everyday life of the inhabitants. In this case the
protagonists treat the camera as if it were a low-maintenance (and possibly little neurotic) pet.
Strategic purposes as well as the intension of the cam owners are not always evident. This
makes you haste (actually it depends on the level of ambition) from cam to cam, from
continent to continent, hoping to be at the right time at the right place, like a conventional
photographer on the prowl – on the one hand.
On the other hand working with netcams forces you to conceptual work, this means that it is
obvious to accentuate the serial nature of the images. The fix view, the continuous insight of
the public and domestic netcams and the refreshing authorless character is also an essential
Netcams document the world, using all these characteristics and give you the possibility to
reconsider and extend the work with photographic material.