b. 1964, Sigmaringen, Germany
Michael Schäfer's photography is occupied with questions of visual representations and with template narratives, the stories of power, fame, triumph and decline, which are told over and over again in mass media. His ambiguous staged portraits and digital montages often feature the protagonists of such narratives. In Les Acteurs (2007), a series of young students from a German elite high school pose in business outfits. They seem to borrow their gestures and facial expressions from social realms of power and authority, mimicking something foreign from themselves, such as looks from their grandparents’ time, and covering up their insecurities around how to appear. In this way, the photographs are not regular attempts to capture identities; rather, the generic postures become portraits of certain culturally constructed social spheres, or portraits of mobile gestures.