Stefanie Moshammer: “Not Just Your Face Honey”

Questioning The Appeal of the American Dream

Photobook Reviews, Episode 4 – by Kate Schultze

I vividly remember Stefanie Moshammer’s show for the C/O Berlin Talent Award 2018. A love letter, blue skies, palm trees, cacti in a suburban American neighbourhood and a truck with heightened wheels and a bold font spelling “Suck Dick” on the boot. An image that, admittedly, stuck with me for these 6 years.

Publisher

Spector Books

Layout

Hardcover, 22x28,5cm, 144 pages

Price

28 €

Link

In very few words, this describes the essence of images in Moshammer’s book Not Just Your Face Honey published by Spector Books in 2018, accompanying her exhibition at C/O Berlin. Stefanie Moshammer is an Austrian photographic artist. Whilst working on another series, she finds herself in a suburb in Las Vegas, Nevada, when a random man knocks on her door looking for his ex-girlfriend. They have a very brief conversation and a few days later Moshammer gets sent a full on love letter by this stranger named Troy Charles. Troy asks her to stay in the US, offering to buy her a car, to move in with him, to be the key to US citizenship, claiming he will be the next big American celebrity in the making and she would make a great addition to this lifestyle.

In Not Just Your Face Honey Moshammer creates images depicting the so-called American dream, or at least objects, interiors and exteriors associated with it. Desert landscapes, suburban houses, road signs, defamiliarised portraits put together in something that feels like chapters categorised by excerpts of the love letter by Troy Charles. The bright and colours and high contrast as well as minimal black and white photographs of the urban landscape play with the style of classic American photographers like Robert Adams or William Eggleston with a more contemporary touch. As Lauren Kelly says in the British Journal of Photography: “For Moshammer, these images are a mix of fiction and non-fiction, which convey both her perception of Charles’ proposition, and key photographic themes of “reality versus storytelling”.

If you are interested in more stories inspired by investigating specific characters or subcultures that explore the topics illusion and reality you should definitely check out Dear Clark by Sara-Lena Maierhofer and Why Can’t You Globeheads Reason? by Charlotte Hansel.

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