Here’s fair warning: you really can’t say you haven’t seen this one coming.
Long-serving Rouleur contributors Timm Kölln and Olaf Unverzart are exhibiting their photography in Berlin. “You should have seen that coming” is their first joint exhibition and deals with the subject of road racing.
It is a phrase often used by cyclists and fans when a rider overlooks something – a break or an obstacle on the road, perhaps – that then leads to a fall. Metaphorically, the phrase is also an exact job description of a reportage photographer: to see things that others do not notice.
I can vouch that Timm and Olaf have a soothsayer’s sense of what will happen and where they need to be. Take one moment at a race for a forthcoming Rouleur feature. A cyclist was in the process of collapsing exhausted into a van at the end of a grueling stage.
At the simultaneous moment I thought ‘I wish Timm could see this’, he was already there, photographing by my shoulder.
With photography, you can have an idea of what you want to take beforehand or a feature’s concept, but a professional cycling race is the bull that can’t be tamed, changed and by so many variables.
Call Olaf and Timm matadors of the art, then. Their stunning, thought-provoking in-race photographs are matched with casual observations off the track, as well as insights into the private world of the cyclists.
The exhibition at Pavlov’s Dog also attempts to give the viewer an insight into a multi-faceted, heterogeneous sport, beyond a plain list of race winners or the routine mystification of the Tour de France, for example.
“You should have seen that coming” runs at Berlin’s Pavlov’s Dog on Bergstrasse from November 15 to December 14 2013