Photo project: Right Time Right Place by Robert Rutoed
Robert Rutoed contacted me recently to share some of his work with me, and I was very impressed with the subtle humour and composition of his images. I asked Robert a few questions about his work and he was kind enough to share it with us.

Being at the right place at the right time is usually associated with happiness and success. But what happens when we are at the right place at the wrong time? Do we even know that this is the right place? And what if it turns out that it is the wrong place after all? But the right time!

Whoever loses his orientation over this thought will get a feeling for Robert Rutöd’s latest pictures. The Vienna-born photographer wandered for five years through Europe and has proven to be a keen observer with an often tragicomic view: The blind man who finds orientation by putting his stick in a tram track, the helpless swan that finds itself frozen to the vast stretch of ice, or the amputee operator of a shooting range set up in a ruined building. It gets macabre with the portraits of the Pope, Hitler and Mussolini decorating the labels of wine bottles.

“Right Time Right Place” was awarded the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography at Photo Annual Awards. A photo from the series won the New York Photo Award 2012 in the category Fine Art.

First of all, welcome to JCH, please tell us about yourself
I am a photographer and filmmaker based in Vienna. Since 2010, I have been showing my photographic work in books and various exhibition projects to a wider public.

Thank you for sharing your piece “Right Time Right Place”. Please tell us a little bit more about this piece and how it came to be.
“Right Time Right Place” is a collection of photographs I made in the last five years on my travels through Europe. The images revolve around the question of whether it is possible for a person to be in the right place at the right time. Is the ideal state of space and time something we are awarded or is it a state we have long been living in without being aware of our good fortune?

I hope I have not succeeded in answering this question. Nothing fails more pathetically than an artist’s attempt to explain the world and its relationships. Rather, my work leads to the conclusion that the world cannot be explained. Once an exhibition visitor in New York told me that, when viewing my photos, she felt that the protagonists seemed to be disobedient. I really liked that interpretation.

What inspires you to photograph?
A scene inspires me if it spreads immediately before my eyes. To make a picture of it is an intuitive and spontaneous decision. Since my photos are not staged, they are not the result of an idea; instead, they are the idea itself.

My work shows my personal view of the world, inspired by artists from different areas; only a few photographers are among them. Edgar Allen Poe and Luis Buñuel for example were formative companions, and Tom Waits of course. His lyrics are often full of wonderful poetry: “There’s a bird in the chimney. And a stone in my bed …”

Do you have any other current or upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?
My book “Milky Way” will be published in Summer 2013 and is about a journey along the way of St James to Santiago de Compostela, with photos of a 7,000 km long and very exciting pilgrimage. I also am editing the series “Fair(y) Tales”, on which I’ve been working since 2004: Really amazing to see how many surprises are lurking inside the trade fair exhibition halls!

Any words for the readers of JCH?
Despite all the fascinating digital technology, let us not forget to also put our memories on paper, otherwise future generations will not be able to make a picture of us.

Robert Rutoed, born in Vienna, Austria. Photographer and filmmaker. Made numerous short feature films with screenings worldwide. Photographic work exhibited throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Books: Less Is More (2009), grayscales. early b&w photographs (2010), Right Time Right Place (2012), Milky Way (2013).

Right Time Right Place:

Many thanks to Robert for sharing his work with us. Robert’s ability to capture the humour and essence of humanity is a joy to see. There is a sort of divine comedy to his images, with happiness and pity combined. I keep on seeing more the more I look at the images. Great work.
Check out Robert’s links and make sure you come and comment.

Please remember that the images are reproduced with the kind permission of Robert Rutoed and may not be used or reproduced without permission