The most important factor in shaping public perception of the government is arguably the way momentous events are translated into images. Our general impression of how a country is run is largely determined by the personality of its political dignitaries. The media often adopt iconic motifs in their coverage: they like it big and pompous, sometimes even violent and brutal – depending on the current sociopolitical context. Another relevant factor is the collective memory of historical events, mixed up with individual and subjective associations.
Removed from the powerful visual representation of the nation, civil servants and public-sector employees toil away in their unadorned offices, generally hidden from the public eye, working on the ground level in a vast bureaucratic apparatus.
In this book, the photographer Lukas Ratius sheds light on the breadth and complexity of the administrative and political institutions of Saarland, one of Germany’s federal states. Ratius’s photos provide fragmentary insight into the inner workings of the government in a playful and skillful subversion of viewers’ expectations.