Three years ago I met the photographer Volker Steger for the first time. He prepared one of the ‚secret’ rooms in the Inselhalle in Lindau. Huge white sheets of paper and wax crayons lay around. You would not have guessed, that what happend there, was high art with simple means.
It was the 60ths Nobel Laureate Meeting which due to the 50th anniversary and interdisciplinarity of the meeting was attended by 59 Nobel Laureates. Volker Steger invited plenty of them to a photo shooting. Not telling them, what he was going to do. Once they were in the room he lifted his secret: They should sketch their Nobel findings. Afterwards he will make a picture of them with their works of art.
„All the laureates I met for a photo shoot were quite surprised by my exceptional request, because I did not inform them beforehand. The idea was to get something spontaneous, not a scientific “paper” intended for publication in a journal“, Volker Steger discribes in the artbook that gives more insights about the series. And he succeeded with his intuition using the moment of surprise as Sir Timothy Hunt, Nobel Laureate in physiology or medicine 2001, reports: „One of the many engagements in Lindau was a mysterious photo session, to which I gave little or no thought before-hand. After all, lots of people take photographs of Nobel Laureates – it comes with the territory. This one proved to be rather different, however, and much more professional than usual….“
You might scroll through the artbook „Sketches of Science“, which is available as pdf. But if you prefer seeing the pictures in high resolution and original you may now plan a trip to the Mainau Castle at Lake Constance, the home of the Bernadotte family in Germany, which is fairly close to Lindau. The exhibition presents 50 of the images of Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine presenting their paintings.
One quote in the artbook wherein Volker Steger also describes each photo shooting session I like very much. It is about Aaron Ciechanover: ‘Ciechanover really invades my studio, bringing his family with him. Half of them are permanently on their cell phones, speaking loudly in Hebrew. I tell him about my project. He says “No, this wonʼt work! My work is so dynamic, it has to be on video, not just still photographs!”’ Well one might say it now is proven that the Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2004 this time was wrong.
The exhibition on the island of Mainau will last until 25. August. I hope my blogging colleagues and me will find the time to visit it during our stay there. Next stop of the exhibition will be the Singapore Science Center – 16. September to 23. November 2013.