K C Korfmann
Derivatives II represents a continuation of the works shown in my first volume of large format black and
white photographs. As explained in the first book of this two-volume series, my visual language derives from
early twentieth century photographers and thinkers whose works I studied. The images presented in both
volumes were made in ...the years from 1985 to 1990. Whereas the first volume included 30 verses composed
during and after these six years, the second volume includes a selective summary of events which occurred
during these years. However, these historical events had no direct influence on the photographs presented in
this volume: they simply provide a sense of context.
From 1985 to 1990 the world population grew almost 9 per cent, from 4.8 to 5.3 billion, influenced
strongly by growth in Asia and Africa; North America grew 5.2 per cent and Europe only 2.2 per cent. A shift
of economic power eastwards became inevitable as the middle classes of China, India and Indonesia started
to expand at even faster rates These were critical years because of the number of geopolitical milestones:
the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of China. It was also a period of
declining leadership in the West after the passing of the Cold War leaders, and a period of increasing sovereign
indebtedness (e.g. in the US the Federal Debt level almost doubled in these few years). In addition, the advent of
the internet and rapid advances in technology began to shrink the world to today's claustrophobic dimensions.
1985 to 1990 were also critical years for large-format film photography. They were years of fundamental
change for photographers because they are associated with the end of analog photography: the bankruptcy
of the largest producer of sheet film, Kodak, made the type of film photography presented in this book
and the preceding volume rare. These were the years when derivative chemicals and film were replaced by
digital technology. The earliest known portable digital cameras were sold in the US in November 1990. The
development of digital technology progressed rapidly with the marketing refrain: ?Don't think, just shoot!? As
a result, the reduction in the meditative components of picture taking, development and printing changed the
nature of art photography and led to an explosion in the number of potential ?picture takers? and exposures.