Manuel Wetscher, “Richard”
  • Edited by Alice Dusapin
  • Designed by Beton
  • January 2024, English, Artist book
  • 474 pp., 14.8 × 21 cm, softcover
  • Edition of 500
  • ISBN 978-2-9576611-4-5
  • This book is dedicated to Richard Jenewein (1953–1993), Elisabeth Wetscher, Christina Fischer and Billie Cottin Wetscher. With kind support of Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlichen Dienst und Sport and Stiftung Kunstfonds.
  • €30

I got to know the real reason for my father’s death ten years after he passed away. They first told me he died of pneumonia, later on they would say lung cancer. Finally the truth came out from a drunk relative at a birthday dinner. I was 17 years old.

I’d like to think of this book as a portrait of him. These photos are my memories of the time we spent together. Some of the images have perhaps become more real than the actual experiences. I think they will always change according to what I know and what I look for in them.

Now I know he died from AIDS in 1993, when he was 40 years old. I’ve looked back for traces and evidence in the photos. What I found was beauty. The infection and pain are absent, just as they were hidden from me. These quite ordinary images of everyday life eventually became a prelude to questioning what a photograph doesn’t show, or how, in reverse, it can generate different narratives for others.

This book brings together 915 slides, most of them taken by my father with his Nikon FE. The pictures were taken between 1983 and 1992, in India, Australia, Spain, Greece, Yugoslavia and around our hometown in Tirol, Austria. From a certain age, I would cut and mount many of these slides with him, and arrange them into slideshows to look at with friends and family in our home.

When he died, the slides went into my grandfather’s cellar and remained unseen. 25 years later, they came back to me in this pink and turquoise bag from the 90s that we used to travel with, like a time capsule.