Photo session is a film about a pair.
A human pair: man and woman, no longer young but when they laugh together they´re as exuberant as children. And an analogous pair: a reflex camera and a 16mm film camera recording one another. At first, the Eumig is on a tripod, observing the work of the photographer (the third person in the room). The film image shows her at work-click, load, click-and in the foreground her motif: the pair on the couch, first timid, then exuberant. The woman surprises the man with a kiss, jostles him from his pose as host and elicits a roguish smile from him. In the second scene, the two are on an old Viennese balcony: dressed in black, standing before black wrought iron, he has on a Sunday hat, and again he is caught off guard. In the third arrangement, the man sits in a room and the 16mm camera films his head from behind.
Only the counter shots from the photo camera make the picture complete in the end. A look back shows the off of the film camera: Friedl vom Gröller, the woman being portrayed, who is now filmmaker, setting up the camera before stepping into the picture.
Photo session flashes forth humorously from the decade long series of self portraits and family portraits produced by photographer and filmmaker Friedl vom Gröller (previously: Friedl Kubelka): In the arrangement with two cameras, Gröller is visible in her double role as portrayer and portrayed.
The title, in which the word "Photo" is spelled with a consciously antiquated "ph" (in modern German, the word is spelled with an "f"), thereby locates Gröller´s work in the analog era. But that precisely is what is so beautiful: filmed on grainy black-and-white material, the Phototermin´s austere outer form harbors a chuckle over itself, aging, living as an artist, and love. And even without a soundtrack, it is as though you almost heard it.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
Grainy 16mm film. An older couple on the couch. Someone handles an analog single lens reflex camera in the background: Photo session. The originally domineering discomfort of the subjects who are recorded twice soon turns into mischievous laughter - the man is affectionately surprised by a kiss. The atmosphere seems instantaneous, very personable, and almost intimate. This is possibly Friedl vom Gröller´s most prominent trademark.
(Diagonale Catalog, 2011)
In a living room, here is an old age couple on a sofa having a chat. A woman photographs their picture from other side of the couple, and another camera exists that takes all of them into a single frame. This moment is reproduced by shooting from the inside of woman´s still picture to the opposite film camera. While movie captures daily events physically through the moving images, the old camera and the picture of the elderly couple put their hours into the emotional moment, where time stands still.
Friedl vom Gröller