Photography by Raphael Schumacher, Text by Alex Schuchmann
In the process of making the fourth episode of our magazine photographer Raphael Schumacher reached out to us, just after returning from several weeks aboard a ship of the “SOS Humanity”. An organization patrolling the Mediterranean Sea, saving thousands of lives from starvation, drowning, and other life-threatening issues. His images depict a perspective you rarely see in the news, his angles are voyeuristic, yet close to the people being rescued. There is a heightened tension between life and death, the ocean is often shown as that dark, wide, and empty space with an unknown end. Raphael gracefully emphasizes the individual's traits and emotions rather than portraying them as a number out of many, which is the common procedure on the rescue ship. With his work Raphael aims to shine a light on the man-made tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea and asks the question: “What are the barriers to the human experience?” Do we need to know what it feels like to be a bat to imagine its life, flying around in the darkness, perceiving the surrounding world by a system of reflected high-frequency sound signals?
As we need more time until the completion of episode four, we still wanted to feature this audacious work captured by the Cologne-based artist. After launching an exhibition at Gallerie 76 in Berlin, he just released his self-published photobook called “All Numbers End”. This book has been created in collaboration with SOS Humanity and features interviews with refugees written by Sasha Ockenden. An eye-opening work that alters the perception of our beloved Mediterranean Sea. Thanks Raphael.