Between Fordism, Post-Fordism and Neo-Fordism —

Pathways to a new toolkit for documentary photographers

Lars Willumeit


Duration: 5 days

Date: Jan 25 to 29, 2015

Between Fordism, Post-Fordism and Neo-Fordism

The participants of the workshop will develop their stories over 5 days and edit their work with mentoring from Lars Willumeit, a photo editor and curator with a background in Social Anthropology. For two days he will team up with Andrea Diefenbach, a documentary photographer who has worked on a long-term study on how post-Fordist conditions impact on a whole generation of Moldavan children, as their parents have to migrate for work in the EU’s service-industries in order to sustain their families. Andrea Diefenbach's project, Aids in Odessa is being shown at this year’s edition of Chobi Mela. 

There will also be an inquiry into what this condition means for the working lives of a future generation of documentary photographers. As conventional media outlets are under a lot of pressure of digital transformation or are in part disappearing, photographers today cannot rely on the old recipes and work routines anymore in promoting their work and for making a living off photography. In the workshop we will look into these issues and will also reflect scenarios for a new post-Fordist photographer's toolkit.

Fordism,  Post-Fordism and Neo-Fordism

Post-Fordism is a concept that attempts to characterize the condition of our present era in terms of
economic production and consumption. It has to be read against Fordism- the regime of material labour on the
factory production lines which in large part shaped society in the 20th century.

One of the main points of observation the concept of Post-Fordism proposes is a shift towards immaterial
labour in the ways the world of work has been restructured globally by forces of Neo-liberalism and an
emerging cognitive capitalism, with an unprecedented global movement of people, goods, information and

So traditional notions of work, consumption, time and public/private space have become unbound in the
powerful developments that are summarized under the terms like Post-Fordist or 24/7 society.
These shifts, of course, also impact on our social lives globally and yet the distribution and intensity of these
phenomena are unevenly distributed geographically and across different socio-economic strata.
Bangladesh, as the host country of the workshop, can be seen as a prime case-study of the complex global
articulations between post-Fordist and neo-Fordist regimes of work and play as they materialize in various
local constellations and individual life experiences.

The workshop will look at the phenomena described above from two main angles. The workshop will take the concept of Post-Fordism and its societal consequences as both a phenomenon to be observed and documented photographically. So participants will work on a topically related photographic assignment over this 5 day period. 


Lars Willumeit (born 1974) is a German anthropologist and curator with interests in photography, documentations in the field of art, regimes of representation and visual cultures currently based in Zurich, Switzerland. Over the past 15 years he has worked as a photo editor & researcher for a number of photo agencies and publications in Germany, UK, USA and Switzerland, notably for magazines like GEO (2002-2006) and DU - Die Zeitschrift der Kultur (2008-2013).

Previously, Lars trained as a photographer and received a Bachelor of Science in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) focusing on South Asia and Visual Anthropology. At present he is also a part-time lecturer at the Swiss School of Journalism (MAZ) and enrolled in the Master of Arts programme in Art Education: Curating & Museum Education at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

Andrea Diefenbach:

Andrea Diefenbach (born 1974) is a German photographer working on personal long-term projects and as freelance photographer for national and international magazines. She finished her photography-studies at the University of Applied sciences in Bielefeld, Germany, in 2006 with the project, 'Aids in Odessa', which was chosen for "Plat(t)form 2007" at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; won the "Documentary Photography Award 2007/2008" of the Wüstenrot Foundation and was published as a book in 2008 by Hatje Cantz.

Her second book Land ohne Eltern (Country without parents) about labor migration from Moldova was published in November 2012 by Kehrer. The work received honorable mentions at the “UNICEF photo award 2012”, the “Kindernothilfe Medienpreis 2013” and further won the second prize at the “Photographic Museum of Humanity Grant 2014” plus the “n-ost Reportagepreis 2012” and “Abisag-Tüllmann-Preis 2013”.