Qatar Germany 2017
Interview with Jordis Schlösser
German photographer Jordis Schlösser has visited Doha during the Qatari-German photographers exchange. Jordis Schlösser belongs to the renowned German agency “Ostkreuz” – an agency founded by photographers in the early 1990s – and travels internationally for assignments and her photography projects. We have asked her three questions on her work in Qatar and her visit.
This has been your second visit to Qatar. You were in Doha for the first time in 2001 for an assignment on the then still young TV station Aljazeera. What has changed since then, what hasn’t?
During my first visit I did not really see the city as such as I concentrated totally on my work at the TV station. But I remember that I was fascinated by the artificiality of this city created in the middle of the desert near the coast line. In the last 15 years since my previous visit Doha has grown tremendously. Where single skyscrapers appeared 15 years ago, today there is a whole skyline. And there are all the new parts of Doha that are even built on artificial land. What did not change in my opinion is the fascinating modernity of a city created in the middle of the desert.
During your stay in Doha you also presented your work as well as the work of the agency “Ostkreuz” in a public talk. And you had the chance to meet with Qatari and Qatar-based photographers. How does the way of work differ or where do you see similarities?
To meet Qatari and Qatar-based photographers was a real experience for me. They were very interested in the work of the agency „Ostkreuz“ as well as my own works. And I was very happy about this.
What was surprising for me was the fact that the local photographers meet each Friday morning in Souq Waqif to take photos together. The Qatari photographer Khalifa Al Obaidly had invited us to join them. That photographers go out and take pictures together was completely new to me as such joint photo tours are not really common in Germany. Being a photographer in Germany rather means to work as a lonely fighter. And of course I was very pleased to see that also Qatari women were part of this group of photographers.
How do you perceive Qatar and the people living in Qatar after your stay in Doha now? What was surprising for you? Which subjects would be interesting for you to work on in Qatar?
It is difficult to give one answer on this question as I have seen three quite different worlds in Qatar: the world of the Qataris, the world of the expats and the world of the workers. These worlds seem to exist rather isolated from each other. But I was happy to see that they all come together in Souq Waqif or at the Corniche on Fridays which is their day off.
Qatar is an extremely interesting place for photographers. It offers so many topics to explore: the artificiality of the city, the life of expats, the every day life of workers, the fascinating modernity, many architectural styles and as well the colourful life at the Corniche where everything seems to come together.