Malte Uchtmann & Jan Staiger — The Perfect Crime: Concerning the Murder of Reality

Conceptual Projects
4 min readDec 7, 2023

Malte Uchtmann is a photographer that we have been following for a while. He was, indeed, one of the first artists we selected on the platform and I clearly remember how his work made a very positive first impact on me. In November 2019 we featured ANKOMMEN (Arrival) on our Instagram profile (our website wasn’t even an idea yet!). A year later, he finally managed to self-fund and publish a photobook of this project, which we promoted and supported through Conceptual Projects. To this day it still remains one of the most thoughtful, detailed and socially engaged books by a photographer of my generation that I have the pleasure of having in my bookshelf.

Now in 2023, Malte comes back with a new series developed with German photographer Jan Staiger. Both photographers have been working together on this new photobook entitled The Perfect Crime: Concerning the Murder of Reality.

We are no strangers to seeing numerous murders in TV series. Some might even say we normalise them. The Perfect Crime: Concerning the Murder of Reality takes a close look at how murders are portrayed and the effect they have on our perception and well-being. Gradually, the photo book shows us how these TV series have been reinforcing (and creating) models of fictional representation with regard to crime scenes. Police work has been idealised, victims have been relegated to mere supporting actors, and the only ones who have seen their image benefited are the perpetrators, whose figures are often romanticised.

The photographs are complemented by two essays on how the media has developed a narrative that has affected people’s perceptions of this sector. The text by Aldo Legnaro and Andrea Kreschmann is a study from a sociological point of view of the role played by German crime television series in recent decades. On the other side, Karen Fromm’s essay “Image Traces: Forensic Media and the Documentary Gaze”, links the documentary image and its use in the context of forensic police work.

If we take a look at the formal characteristics of this book, we would automatically highlight its cover. Coated with a thermochromic varnish, the cover reacts to body heat and causes the cover to change colour, revealing fingerprints. After a short period of time, they disappear when the temperature stabilises. Such details add value to the concept the artists are working on, referring to the techniques used in forensic investigations.

Malte Uchtmann’s (b. 1996, Germany) practice is characterised by its enormous involvement. In each of the subjects he develops, he breaks down every aspect so that the viewer understands the issue he is dealing with. This analytical nature of his is enhanced through his collaboration with Jan Staiger (b. 1995, Germany). With a practice rigorously based on documentary photography, Jan’s work focuses mainly on German and European society and politics.

Kult Books, which was also the same publishing house that supported Malte Uchtmann’s first photobook ANKOMMEN, will be working also on this publication together with both artists. Furthermore, the crowdfunding campaign is also supported by the Swedish Arts Council who has committed to make and distribute 280 copies of the book for libraries across the country.

Malte Uchtmann and Jan Staiger upcoming book The Perfect Crime: Concerning the Murder of Reality is being crowdfunded via Startnext until December 9th 2023. From Conceptual Projects, we invite you to support its crowdfunding through this link.

Hope you enjoy the article and if you want to discover more about emerging photography, you can find us on Instagram and on our website

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Text by:

Juan Blasco — Founder & Curator of Conceptual Projects