Jakob Schnetz
People Place Technology

With this photographic essay, Jakob Schnetz takes a critical look at the current changes to wage labour in Germany’s service and IT companies. Around 70 per cent of the working population are employed in these industries. Wage labour is at the centre of many people’s lives and determines their everyday routines, often for more than 40 years. However, over the past few years digitisation has given a whole new meaning to the economic factor known as “human resources”: companies have realised that in Working World 4.0, efficiency can be increased even as costs are lowered by making working conditions and jobs more and more flexible. “People, Place, Technology” is the new key to success; it serves the growth-directed orientation of a capitalist economy.

  • Digitalisation
  • The Future
  • Work

»The central question for me was how to turn something invisible into something visible and also how to comment on it.«

Jakob Schnetz

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The photographer Jakob Schnetz talks about pictures of his “Work People Place Technology”.

3 Questions
1. The door opener: Can you describe a formative moment in your career as a visual journalist?

Chance is present in every photograph, even if it appears in visible detail only retroactively. I have always experienced situations as especially striking – both in commissioned work and in freelance projects – when a place engenders a charged relationship between the (supposedly) given and my own imagination of it, whether it is contexts that are quite limiting and hard to control or the surprise of determining that my own imagination and the “given” have little correlation. This negotiation process of my own perception and the possibilities of chance are especially interesting to me, for they constantly challenge the fragile concept of my own authorship.

2. The decisive moment: When did you first encounter your topic and why did you decide to cover it photographically?

The topics I want to work on photographically generally arise from the theoretical examination of “photography” on the one hand and, as in this series, economy on the other. The topic of flexibilisation and alienation in capitalist societies has been driving me for some time. In that way, there was no initial spark. Rather, it was a process of searching for possibilities for a (photographic) criticism of the constraints and effects that are not found outside the living reality of potential viewers, but touch them directly, so they don’t offer any spectacular or contemplative “other”.

3. The future: What could the visual journalism of the future be like?

I think we can only speculate about the financial aspects of future visual journalism. However, current developments do have the potential to create new platforms, and with them maybe more mutually supportive, less competition-driven concepts, which is something worth striving for. But it is clear to me that a visual journalism of the future must – and it is increasingly happening – devote itself more to examining the politics and practices of representation, as well as the meanings and (im-)materialities that are altered with digital picture strategies.

Curated by Jonas Dengler & Kai Ivo Nolda

© for all photos by the photographers
© for videos Lumix Festival Hanover, if not indicated otherwise.

*1991 in Freiburg, Germany
Jakob Schnetz completed his BA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts in 2018. He is currently enrolled in the master’s programme in Photography Studies and Research at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. In his long-term photography projects, Schnetz develops critical perspectives of capitalism, combining journalistic, conceptual and artistic approaches. In 2016, he won the LensCulture Emerging Talent Award. His works have appeared in GEO, Wired, DIE ZEIT and other publications.


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