Ingmar Björn Nolting – About the Days Ahead

Ingmar Björn Nolting – About the Days Ahead

Though barely three years have passed, the pictures seem to belong to a strange time that has already faded into a blurred memory. Today, the motifs emphasise, even further, that the spring of 2023 feels very different to that time of great social, political and emotional uncertainty, triggered by the pandemic, three years ago.

Rather than allow the general paralysis to overwhelm him, Ingmar Björn Nolting decided to act: when the first lockdown was announced in Germany on March 18, 2020, the photographer – who had just completed studies of Photography in Dortmund, and subsequently moved to Leipzig – decided to set out on a road trip. Following strict safety protocols, he spent a year travelling around the country, traversing around 25,000 kilometres. During this unusual journey, Nolting produced a comprehensive photographic document, covering life in times of a global crisis.

“Photography has always been a way for me to think, understand and put myself into relation with my surroundings – a way to connect. Within my journey, I wanted to face this reality head-on.”

Titled “About the Days Ahead”, the widely presented and 2021 LOBA shortlisted series has now evolved into a complex photo book. The pale hues of the publication’s 58 pictures correspond to the mood at the time, while the motifs offer a variety of insights into the consequences of the pandemic. At times, the images reflect the photographer’s very personal experiences, as when his camera captured his father, his grandmother, his aunt and his friends. As a whole, however, the series covers a broad spectrum of the crisis.

Nolting describes the photo project as confrontational therapy, helping him to deal with the feelings of impotence and fear, that emerged during the early days of the pandemic. His pictures are quiet, distanced, and at times melancholic. Using reduced colouring and clear compositions, he captured moments that go beyond the horrors of the pandemic; his photos also speak of how society dealt with the crisis, and the absurdities of everyday life. The interplay of the individual images gives rise to a complex mosaic - the story of a society in a state of change. “About the Days Ahead” will continue to provoke very emotional recollections of the pandemic, well into the future. It is a special document, reporting on a German society caught between collective isolation, fear, despair and the longing for an improvised normality.

Ingmar Björn Nolting

Born in 1995, Ingmar Björn Nolting studied Photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund. The emphasis of his work lies on photo essays: as seen in “Hinter Fassaden” (Behind Façades 2016–2019); “The Dream of the Poets” (2019–2020); “Road of Kolyma” (2020); and “About the Days Ahead” (2020), dealing with questions of social, geographical and geo-political isolation. His work has been published in TIME Magazine, ZEIT Magazin, GEO, the Guardian, Stern, Brand eins, SZ Familie, the NZZ and Spiegel Online, among others. He is a co-founding member of the DOCKS Collective focusing on humanistic photography. Nolting lives and works in Leipzig. In 2021, his “About the Days Ahead” series was shortlisted for the LOBA; as a member of the DOCKS Collective, he was once again on the LOBA shortlist in 2022, for the series “The Flood in Western Germany”.

About the Days Ahead, Ingmar Björn Nolting, 128 pages, 58 colour pictures, 22.5 × 30 cm. German/English, Kettler

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Portrait: © Cihan Cakmak