Olaf Rauh and the Game of Photography

Within the chaos of a city, filled with walls that appear bleak and gray because they block the sun, we have set aside certain spaces, glittering under slants of canyon light, where the solitude of urban life breaks for communal play. In the fall of 2001, a time when the entire city seemed suspended, the German photographer Olaf Rauh crossed the playgrounds of Manhattan’s Lower East Side with an early digital camcorder and captured these sites at moments of disuse. Their barren quietude is not the only anomaly: the footage he shot, encoded as low-res MPEG-1 files, appears full of chromatic distortions.