For one who daily watches moving images and is in the programming process for a festival – 90 documentaries in a month – it is pure pleasure to stop for a moment and look at photographs, be it the reportage genre or art photography. I did so December 10 at the new Whitney Museum in New York, a museum of American Art, and a museum with an excellent view from balconies on several floors.

I took a photo with my i-phone: A woman looks at a photo taken by Diane Arbus in 1963, title ”Teenage Couple on Hudson Street, N.Y.C.”. In 1963 I was also a teenager, had the same haircut as the boy on the photo. He poses for the camera, whereas she seems not that happy to be photographed. How did that photo come about? Did Arbus just stop them on the street and asked for permission? Where were they going? For a drink around the corner? To visit family? A social photography, maybe, it does not communicate happiness, there is something of a Ken Loach film in that shot from N.Y. in 1963. Sadness?

All that I think now,11 days after the visit, knowing that the real reason for the snapshot was the woman, who is looking at the photo: Her interest, her curiosity in that photo, in Jørgen Leth language: Look at the woman. What is she looking at? What are her thoughts? Does she like the photo?

She is quite as important in my photo as the photo itself. The one and only!

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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