“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Florian Geiss
With Gimme Shelter Florian Geiss captures a sense of the infinite opportunity and universal promise of the iconic American way of life during our times of globalization. Yet, a disconcerting aura emanates from his pictures, characterized by a touch of melancholy, and a forlornness of the individual in a groundless world. The search for shelter is the subject of the work. Nowadays we also feel that the world peace is threatened. The global political situation and social and cultural conflicts have forced several millions of refugees into homelessness. But in the first world, where having a roof over one‘s head is normal, there is a different kind of
insecurity - a spiritual homelessness. The present generation, which despite all their global liberty and unconstrained freedom, struggles for an anchor, for a home, for new goals, for a purpose. They have become detached from religion and social expectations; they are dynamic, flexible in every respect and everything is at their disposal. Gimme Shelter is an intense, sensual experience. Photographs by Florian Geiss are sun-drenched and unambiguous at first glance; upon their second viewing, their atmosphere captivates and shifts into mysticism, posing many questions while deliberately leaving them unanswered. The characters in Florian Geiss’ photographs act lightly in their pictures. Although their postures and gestures are often meticulously staged by the artist there is something random, unintended, and dreamily doomed about them. They sometimes seem torn between threat and devotion. Many of the figures feel introverted, as if they were concentrating and critically listening on the inside. Still in Florian Geiss‘s pictures they all seem to be searching, questioning, pleading, and provoking. Florian Geiss’ noticeably conscious handling of color and light reflects the approach of American new color photography. The same melancholy that makes Gimme Shelter so impressive resonates in the faded colourfulness of road trip photographs by Stephen Shore or Joel Sternfield in the late 1970s.