The pictures had been produced in the seventies in Ibiza. In those years, they were shown little by little in the gallery SECRET LIVES, situated in Eivissa D’Alt Vila. With a weak echo. Photo realism as a makeweight to the predominant abstract painting was tolerated. Photography without an artistic dressing did not make much appeal to anyone.
The collection illustrates the story about the four protagonists of the recently published novels SNAKIE – DIANA and SNAKIE – BILLY. Two antithetic boys from Salamanca, Spain, and Wyoming, USA, are in the spotlight. They literally have to fight against each other, until they can accept being half brothers. Their unmanly desire to be passively overwhelmed as well causes trouble. The hippies’ approach toward life and the solitude of a Mediterranean island allow them later on legitimising their strange appetite for meditative persistence. Restricting physical mobility with the intention to give the spirit priority over the body is a method, renowned since ancient times. The young men are investigating the phenomenon thoroughly. Studies of Far Eastern wisdom provide the intellectual basis.
As adolescents, Manuel and Billy (nicknames Jig and
Quee) often fight with each other. The loser is taken prisoner for the rest of the day, as the boys want to prepare themselves for corporal punishment in the military. Later on, the martial arts
fights in a mixture of jiu-jitsu and all-in wrestling are Billy’s and Manuel’s daily sports. They fight under the Mediterranean sun as the ancient Greeks with not a stitch on. As they are, of course,
depending on the day, much pretty of equal force, victory and defeat go side by side. The game between Uke and Tori has rules ¹).
If the match ends in a draw, the boys throw dice. That decides, who is Tori, and who must take Uke’s part, being captured for a while. Now for the serious purpose of meditative stillness. Tori wears
black leather, Uke wears jeans or has to be naked. But all is interchangeable. This is unfold by the pictures of those happy years. The following video clip (by clicking on the
picture) is a preview for people, who are short on time.
The documentation will be replenished later on by snapshots of subsequently produced video material (in progress).
Diana and Virginia do not poke into the subtle games of their partners. The boys may struggle as long as they like. Afterwards, between the sheets, they are as smooth as silk. The girls despise machos. They like softies and do not have any problem with the young men’s passiveness.
That singular island in the sun was marked by plentiful artistic creation. Later on, the eccentric
ambience could not hold its ground against the greed of gain in disco scene, drugs, and fun tourism. Some of the
island’s old guard individuals still do nostalgically hang on the past. They might ignore the famous quotation of Adorno, who only knew Eivissa from his correspondence with Walter Benjamin:
“There is no right life in the wrong one.” ²)
Billy and Manuel are fond of leather clothing. It is a projection of their narcissistic ego, or in other words, their
enjoyment of life. It goes with the hippie era and rock music. But the two boys loose the pleasure of wearing tight leather pants, when in the eighties the homosexual movement selects black
leather as symbol of recognition.
The two last volumes of SNAKIE are still in progress. Far from the Mediterranean Sea and beyond the middle years of their life, Manuel and Billy with their eccentricities try to make their way in a completely disenchanted world.
¹) Theodor W. Adorno: Minima Moralia. Reflections from Damaged Life. London, 1951
²) In judo and some other martial arts, Tori is the person who completes the technique against the training partner, called Uke. Regardless of the situation, the principle is that Tori is always the one who successfully completes a technique. The terms Tori and Uke are not synonymous with attacker and defender, because the role is determined by who completes a successful technique, not who initiates one. (quoted from Wikipedia)
I possessed the typical equipment of an amateur photographer from the seventies and eighties. A single lens reflex Praktica from VEB Pentacon, Dresden, and a Pentax from Asahi Optical, Far East. Both cameras were base models with 50mm lens. I used panchromatic 35mm film 25 ASA, available as yard goods from Agfa Munich, plus colour negative film and film for colour transparencies 50 ASA from Agfa Wolfen and Kodak. Black-and-white development took place in my own lab in Santa Eulalia / Ibiza. I used photo paper with a matt finish from Ilford. Colour pictures were elaborated in professional labs. The exhibited pictures (Gallery Secret Lives, Ibiza D’Alt Vila, 1978) had been produced in sizes of 20 x 30 to 30 x 45cm. Today’s avatar photo of my website was made in 50 x 75cm.