Ruth Erdt

The Gang

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all © erdt


Charlotte Cotton Thames & Hudson, London UK / 2004

Both Ruth Erdt’s and Elinor Carucci’s photographing of their respective families sensuously emphasize the archetypal narratives of personal lives, for example the bonds between mother and daughter, or a child on the cusp of adulthood. There is a neutrality in their techniques rather than a pronounced style such as of that of a family snap. The search here is for a form of photography that, while remaining an account of the relationships between the photographers and their loved ones, triggers in us a sense of the universality of these bonds and moments in life. In both Carucci’s and Erdt’s work is a concious paring down of detail, such as dress and mise-en scène, that would date or overly particularize a photograph. This approach keeps the symbolic and non-specific readings of their depictions of their relationships to the fore. The Swiss photographer Ruth Erdt published a collection of portraits she made of friends, lovers and familiy over sixteen years. Spontaneous and posed portraits are blended into the book sequence, giving over the sense of how her photographing of daily life is both accepted by a collaboration with her loved ones.


DUTCH Magazin 40 / 2002 Zeva Bellel

Why would Swiss photographer Ruth Erdt rent a few extra kids for her family portrait? In her book The Gang, Erdt’s two children mingle with stand-ins in a harmonious palat of milky-white skin, fresh freckles, and strawberry blond hair, while lovers, friends and parents slip in and out view. Tracing the physical landscape of home throug nature’s textures, colors, light and shadows. Erdt create a tangible, tactile image of a place that is often closed off, accessible only those who live inside. Her subjects handle clay on the beach, do handstands on the bed, and disappear like colorful shadowsinto the bath, playing out subtle, moody narratives that are intimately open, universal and pure in her free, sensuous territory called home.


Ruth Erdt adresses so-called everyday matters, and operates in the field of tension between authenticity and fiction. Her restrained and peaceful images seem to hover on the threshold where normality switches over into direct action. Erdt tells stories about her life – or what the viewer assumes to be her life.

Lars Muller Publisher / 2001 Text Gianni Jetzer
120 pages ISBN 3-907078-48-9 sold out

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