Michael Wesely: The Camera was present 2010-2020


This book is not yet published, but will be available from August 2022.

ISBN: 9783958298651 Category:


For over three decades now Michael Wesely has created revelatory photographs using large-format lenses on self-made, long-exposure cameras. The resulting exposure times are extraordinary-not merely minutes and hours, but days, months and even years. Wesely’s camera catches the enormity of everything that passes before it, crystallizing reality into unexpected, densely layered and sometimes ghostly pictures. Familiar objects often become only partially recognizable, opening up new perceptions of time and space.

Wesely’s highly original work contrasts to the more traditional approach of photographers carefully staging their compositions and directing the subject. His images seem caught in the processes of both becoming and unraveling; what remains is fragmentary, comparable to the ambiguity of Michelangelo Antonioni’s thriller Blow-Up. Wesely sees his photos as archival excerpts from the present, inviting us to consider them as “visual archaeology” and to imagine our own stories behind their creation. The Camera Was Present celebrates his 20-year collaboration with Galerie Fahnemann and traces the evolution of his photography from 2010 to 2020.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 21 x 29.5 cm
Publisher name Hatje Cantz Verlag
Publication date 2 August 2022
Number of pages 312
Format Hardback
Dimensions 21 x 29.5 cm
Weight 300 g


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Michael Wesely, born in Munich in 1963, is a photographer whose extreme long exposures have attracted attention. His work complexes include portraits, still lifes and, above all, long-term urban projects, such as the conversion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 2001 to 2004. For the 80th birthday of the Lemke house, designed by Mies van der Rohe, he transformed this into a walk-in period, combining the year exposure time with the moments of observation. In the Casa de Vidro in São Paulo (2015-2016) he followed the change in nature in the changing light conditions for over a year. Wesely lives and works in Berlin.