LIFE
FORCE
The magazine of the photo-essay
July 2017 issue
Gimme Shelter
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Florian Geiss
With Gimme Shelter Florian Geiss captures a sense of the infinite  opportunity and universal promise of the iconic American way of  life during our times of globalization. Yet, a disconcerting aura  emanates from his pictures, characterized by a touch of melancholy,  and a forlornness of the individual in a groundless world.   The search for shelter is the subject of the work.  Nowadays we also feel that the world peace is threatened.  The global political situation and social and cultural conflicts have  forced several millions of refugees into homelessness. But in the  first world, where having a roof over one‘s head is normal, there is  a different kind of
insecurity - a spiritual homelessness.   The present generation, which despite all their global liberty and  unconstrained freedom, struggles for an anchor, for a home, for new  goals, for a purpose. They have become detached from religion and  social expectations; they are dynamic, flexible in every respect and  everything is at their disposal.    Gimme Shelter is an intense, sensual experience.  Photographs by Florian Geiss are sun-drenched and unambiguous at  first glance; upon their second viewing, their atmosphere captivates  and shifts into mysticism, posing many questions while deliberately  leaving them unanswered.   The characters in Florian Geiss’ photographs act lightly in their  pictures. Although their postures and gestures are often meticulously  staged by the artist there is something random, unintended, and dreamily  doomed about them. They sometimes seem torn between threat and devotion.  Many of the figures feel introverted, as if they were concentrating and critically  listening on the inside. Still in Florian Geiss‘s pictures they all seem to be  searching, questioning, pleading, and provoking.    Florian Geiss’ noticeably conscious handling of color and light reflects the  approach of American new color photography. The same melancholy that  makes Gimme Shelter so impressive resonates in the faded colourfulness  of road trip photographs by Stephen Shore or Joel Sternfield in the late 1970s. 
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