Jeffrey Ladd: The Awful German Language
An ex-pats photographic homage to the dissonances of word and image
In 2011 the American photographer and Errata Books publisher Jeffrey Ladd (born 1968) moved to Cologne, Germany, and began photographing his surroundings while learning the basics of the German language. In the process, he collected lists of interesting German vocabulary words (professions, places, things, common terms and outdated terms), which he juxtaposes with his black-and-white photographs; two different types of language?one visual, one verbal?describing a sense of his new home.
Borrowing its title from Mark Twain, The Awful German Language embraces a state where the combination of word and photograph can resonate or remain dissonant and confused depending on the individual reader. An index of definitions in English at the back of the book is provided as a learning tool, but one that requires some work on the part of the learner to decipher its code.