Ever since some creative know-it-all came up with this widespread witticism, saying “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words”, the necessity to say anything about Oliver Rath is basically obsolete. Year of birth (78), place of birth (Heidelberg) – who cares about it anyway? His mover/shaker-mentality, his DJing-past, his talent to translate boredom of one thing into a passion for another one – it is all nice things to say about him, but you actually don’t need to know. His DIY-enthusiasm, that built up the whole technical foundation of his existence as a photographer, his mindscape that no school in this world could have teach him, his creative lunacy that’s hidden beneath this Frankish and easy going surface – they are all pretty ornaments for writings like these, but still: anything you could say about him doesn’t come close to the impression of his pictures.
Those are pictures of a maniac. His imagery is infiltrated by codes of urban hedonism, yet ruptured by sometimes prankish, sometimes caustic humour. It is a hard and rough picture language, a language without diplomatic attachments or compromise, but fuelled with unchecked temper and elegant to subtle sense for semantics. He takes everything in that makes a good picture: geometry, contrast, perspective, arrangement. But more than that, he’s a master of those little things, that push a good picture to become an outstanding one. He is the advocate of maximizing impacts. He’ll find the big talk even in the smallest gestures. He might just slam you in the face with a picture. But he might lick your wounds with the very next one. His sense for the right sentiment is without comparison, be it on national or international scale. Call him man of the moment. What do I say? Call him a depicting chronicler of the Zeitgeist. Well, why do I say so much anyway? Just find one of his pictures and call him your new favourite photographer.