Hans-Jürgen Raabe was a student of the famous Kiel theatre photographer Erika Haendler-Krah. In his work as a journalist, he has written for various media platforms. In the 80s, he predominantly focussed on black-and-white photography. His illustrated books Berlin Graffiti (1982) and Schöneberg (1984) published by Nicolai received significant interest. Raabe’s latest project, 990 Faces, marks his return to photography. His current work predominantly comprises portrait and still life photographs, all of which are magnificent examples of Raabe’s sophisticated sense of intuition and skill when it comes to capturing the elemental aspects of his subjects without the use of any artificial lighting or digital manipulation.
Hans-Jürgen Raabe’s latest project, 990 FACES, is a long-term conceptual photography project that will take an entire decade to complete. Starting in 2010, Raabe has been visiting different countries and continents, including select locations such as Myanmar, Lourdes, 5th Avenue in New York, the dOCUMENTA (13) and Brandenburger Tor. Every one of his 33 location-specific series of photographs comprises 30 individual portraits and 10 still lifes. Over 10 years, this collection of photographs will grow to become 990 Faces – a portrait of humanity. Raabe’s 990 Faces project is all about people – about the individual people that make up humanity and their realities. Although seemingly taken in passing, Raabe’s shots of everyday people caught in moments of reflection are keenly touching and loaded with meaning.
According to Raabe, “Places are shaped by people and vice a versa. They add magic to one another and that magic could come from a shared path in life, or an interest that unites a lot of people or the magic of temporary sanctuary […] In that context, both the people and places are of equal importance to me. And so, what I’m trying to do is to create a portrait of the people of my time. This endeavour in turn links in with one of the main objects of this project, because I strongly believe that we need to return to start caring for people again. […] The reason the project has received so much interest is because the world is full of manipulated images. And, I would like to think that 990 Faces marks the start of counter-movement because it is all about the “un-manipulated”, about authenticity and actually also simply about normality”.