“Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archives” by Simon Menner published by Hatje Cantz

The funniest things in the world are simultaneously the saddest and truest things. The intent of this comedy is not to belittle the circumstances but to make them bearable. Simon Menner acknowledges the ironic re-intrution of privacy by publishing surveillance images. “The presentation of most of the pictures reproduced here is naturally a two edged sword” he writes in the introduction.

The design of the book is surprisingly light hearted and has a tongue-in-cheek feel. At times it reads like an instruction manual rather than a photobook. It strikes a balance between being matter of fact, shocking, funny and frightening. This is especially the case when you realise that a lot of these type of images can now be seen on peoples’ instagram or facebook feeds. We don’t need people to spy on us anymore we have machines and ourselves to do that.

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Disguises20140118-213134.jpg

Hand signals with lost meaning20140118-213152.jpg

Polaroids prior to house searches20140118-213211.jpg

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