Martin GuggisbergSwitzerland - 1971
15 Jan - 22 Feb 2014
Zurich based photographer and filmmaker Martin Guggisberg was born in Bern in 1971. A graduate from the London Film School, he directed several short films like The Flasher from Grindelwald (study award Federal Office of Culture), Der Skifahrer (nominated for Prado di Domani, Locarno Film Festival) and Buumes (Les Baumanns). He works essentially as a freelance photographer for magazines and newspapers (NZZ am Sonntag, AD Germany, Elle Decoration UK, amongst other). The series Miss presented at Quai1 is also a book published by Patrick Frey (Zurich) in 2012.
Miss Tourism, Miss Do-It-Yourself or Miss Handicap: Martin Guggisberg spent several years traveling across Switzerland to document these regional beauty contests. Through this documentary, he reports – almost like an social anthropologist – a contemporary social phenomenon: the staging of identities and the quest for recognition.
Miss reveals that elections such as Miss Tuning, Miss Furttal or Miss Farmer exist all around the country. Cheap title for one-night princesses? Maybe. But these coronations reflect this chaotic quest for identity and the dreams of a village, a community, and maybe of a whole country. “Switzerland is a small country and its celebrity scene is very limited. We also never had a kingdom… Is it for that reason that we are looking for beauty kings and queens?” asks the photographer. Would each country only have the glamour it deserves?
The series also describes, in a tender and unexpected way, a society in which the desire for recognition is everywhere, in both rural and urban areas. An era in which we are ready to almost anything to validate our existence and thus confirm the Warholian prophecy: “fifteen minutes of fame for everyone.”
In 2013, Martin Guggisberg participated in the Vevey International Photography Award organized by the Festival Images.