2.Weltkrieg in Blumen (Natürlich ohne die Blumen im Bild) /2017
I've stumbled upon these images on German eBay when I was looking for materials for collages for another project. This particular eBay user offers for sale reproductions of vintage photos from "a personal photo archive" (according to the items' description). To prevent others from using the pictures posted online the seller digitally enhanced every image with pink flowers using them to cover moderately essential parts of the picture and placing them in such way that cropping them out would prove impossible.
Most of the images on sale by this user date back to the World War II. Black and white photos show German soldiers on the front line and Polish Jews being convoyed or searched, military parades, destroyed tanks and soldier graves, and every single one has the same large pink hauntingly beautiful flowers in it.
So what are these images now? Are they still historical documents? Can we accept that images of the war and of the Shoah are decorated with flowers - even if not for aesthetic reasons but purely commercial? And does commercial provenance of these flowers make them more acceptable?
Or are they samples of goods for sale now, both parts of the combined image serving as one, giving just enough information to evaluate the overall quality of the image and of the print?
And can we avoid noticing the abstract beauty of these collages - understanding what is depicted in these pictures and knowing that they were most likely never intended to be looked at with artistic interest?
All the presented images and their corresponding descriptions were made and posted online by the eBay seller route_67. I took upon myself the task of taking these images out of their original context and compiling this selection.
The project was made during the Gaude Polonia scholarship programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.