“The image of a city is largely shaped by people who, through their work in various areas of society, make this city known beyond its borders. I am fascinated by people who achieve exemplary things through ideas, assertiveness and commitment, thereby becoming role models themselves and thus leaving their mark on a city. For years, I have made it my task to photographically portray these personalities in their own environment. For me, the portrait in a private or professional sphere is the best medium for portraying people and thereby bringing them closer to others” (Giesel in Handwerksform 2004, S. 4).
In his project Photo-Portraits aus Hannover (Photo-Portraits from Hanover), Joachim Giesel presents celebrities in 112 photographs who have a connection with the state capital. For most of the shots he used a medium format 6/7 cm camera. The camera captures people in their familiar surroundings without deliberately creating a staged effect or playing with stereotypes. Giesel prefers a single light source and explores with the camera’s curious gaze. He goes on a search for traces between light and shadow in order to do attentive and honest justice to those portrayed.
The film producer and screenwriter Doris Dörrie is prominently in the center of the picture. Giesel photographed her in a living room or study. The light is falling on the scenery from the right edge of the picture. With a casual posture, Dörrie sits on a director’s chair and examines the viewers with a thoughtful gaze. Books, newspaper articles and pictures are piled up around her. She poses in her director’s chair in a natural, self-chosen setting.
The world champion in ring gymnastics Andreas-Frederic Aguilar also seriously looks past the camera. In a strong chiaroscuro contrast, he stands out against the black of the background. His face forms the center of the composition. The attribute of the ring through which he threads his left arm refers to Aguilar’s professional career, just as the director’s chair stands for Dörrie’s activity as a filmmaker.