On 23 February 2022, the new exhibition “Time Travelers” by German photographer Petra Gerwers will open at the Michael Horbach Foundation in Cologne.
Andrea Lüdke, September 2021, Hamburg, © and courtesy Petra Gerwers
This project, which Gerwers started seven years ago and shot mainly with a Leica Monochrom camera, revolves around the discussion of hopes and dreams and the reality of one’s life – and how the depicted persons deal with and communicate them.
Nadine Dinter, Juni 2021, Berlin, © and courtesy Petra Gerwers
Each “time traveler” is portrayed in a three-part series – consisting of a photo of themselves as a child, a handwritten letter by the time traveler to their child self, and a current photo of the protagonist, taken by the photographer Petra Gerwers. Together they tell a life story.
Nick Ut and Kim Phuc, Juni 2015, Hamburg, © and courtesy Petra Gerwers
These individual narratives provide a stage for each of the 25 protagonists, including:
Ivo von Renner, September 2021, Hamburg, © and courtesy Petra Gerwers
Letter: The time travelers imagine what they would tell their former child self. What insights do they wish to share? The protagonists can decide what they want to convey and what topics to address. Handwritten letters are preferable because every handwriting is unique and gives a further impression of the individual.
Present-day photograph: The time travelers were asked: “What place, person, or past event changed your life in the past or shaped the future course of your life?” The time traveler is portrayed by the photographer behind a window, with an image of this life-changing element reflecting on the surface. The protagonists look out of the window into the distance, into the future – but might also gaze inward, giving viewers a hint of their emotional world. A closer look and more detailed examination of the subtly reflected images allows viewers to discover further facets of the protagonists.
Childhood photograph: This gives an impression of what the time travelers looked like and how they acted when they were young. The time traveler’s letter addresses this child.
“Petra Gerwers already had her first camera at age nine and has known ever since that the medium of photography can offer something quite extraordinary: an immediate dialogue with the world around her, without needing to subordinate what she sees to a conceptual logic. Trusting in her intuitive sense of perception, she has developed a highly personal, subjective visual language through a variety of photographic projects.” (Wolfgang Zurborn)
Petra Gerwers: Time Travelers
24 February – 3 March 2022
Opening: 23 February 2022, 7 – 9 pm
Pre-registration required at: and a valid 2G proof
Michael Horbach Foundation exhibition space
Wormser Str. 23, 50677 Cologne
Closing event: 3 March 2022, 7 – 9 pm