Power and money: Ralf Kaspers photographs obsession and excess

19 March 2013

German photographer Ralf Kaspers has made his name shooting highly detailed large scale still lifes and landscapes. His choice of subject varies from grand buildings like the New York Stock Exchange or Moscow’s huge Luzhniki sports stadium to everyday objects arrayed in seried ranks such as dead flies, clipped fingernails, Euro banknotes — all captured in extraordinary detail and at vast scale. A graduate of the hugely influential Düsseldorf school of photography, Kaspers is a contemporary of other noted alumni such as Andreas Gursky and Candida Hoffer. He is currently showing at Moscow’s Frolov gallery in an exhibition that runs until 31 March.

His works in Moscow seem, on first appearance, to evidence a documentarist’s objectivity. There are images from Tokyo’s Summerland themepark and near-focus shots of medal ribbons. But look closer at his studies of AK47 bullet cartridges, gold bars and black caviar, and what’s also revealed is a pointed commentary on the “New Russia” and its fascinations with power and excess. This is still life photography that’s concerned with the morality and mores of modern society.

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