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Contemporary German Photography

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May 28, 2004

Stefanie Schneider works with what looks like expired Polaroid film. The results are very interesting, yet not necessarily much more than decorative.
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May 27, 2004

Claudio Hils’ portfolio contains some very interesting projects.
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May 25, 2004

New work by Andreas Gursky is currently being shown at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York City.
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May 25, 2004

Mona Breede’s work divides into portraits and what she calls Choreographien (choreographies). Both are really very nice.
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May 23, 2004

A variation on a theme, another German taking photos of the new China: Martin Zeller.
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May 19, 2004

After Germany was “re-united” the German government spent a lot of money on bringing East German infrastructure up-to-date and, not surprisingly, that meant updating and enhancing the decrepit autobahn and train system. Hans-Christian Schink, born in East Germany, documents this process in a series that very powerfully unmasks the empty promises behind the whole idea.
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May 19, 2004

Elias Hassos’ work is a nice, yet somewhat unorganized, mix of portraits, landscapes and still lifes.
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May 19, 2004

There really is only so much you can do photographically. Or maybe not. Just look at Edgar Lissel’s work. He uses a truck as a gigantic pinhole camera and has the image projected on colour negative paper (see above). And as if that wasn’t unusual enough he also produces photos using bacteria. Whenever I see work like this I am very happy that people are willing to experiment and to break the rules - how else do you get interesting photos that don’t look like what everybody else’s?
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May 3, 2004

When I saw the menu of David Hiepler and Fritz Brunier’s website I thought it was just the usual commercial photography. I was then very pleasantly surprised to find some ultra-cool photography behind some of the subjects, such as photos of Germany’s new federal ministries in Berlin. Very cool, very “sachlich”.
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Apr 22, 2004

Albrecht Fuchs’ portraits are all quite deadpan, albeit in such a way that the subjects are not intentionally trying to look overly cool and the photographer is not adding anything fancy to make it look cool.
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Apr 17, 2004

Michael Schnabel’s zoo interiors/cage series are/is just one example of his work.
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Apr 14, 2004

“The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography for 2004 was awarded to Bernd and Hilla Becher, Düsseldorf, Germany.”
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Mar 7, 2004

Frank Schinski has done a lot of interesting projects, all well worth the visit.
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Feb 18, 2004

Corinna Holthusen uses a fair amount of digital manipulation to get her photos. The results are not always particularly tasteful but they’re interesting in any case.
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Jan 28, 2004

Museale Unterwelt is a project by Oliver Wachenfeld for his diploma thesis in “design of communications” at the university of Wuppertal, Germany. It shows stock rooms of museums, stuff that’s not being shown but, instead, stored away in the underground. You can look through the photos by clicking on any of those “Serie” links at the bottom.
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Nov 24, 2003

Ralf Peters is another emerging German talent.
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Nov 24, 2003

Götz Diergarten studied photography at the art academy in Düsseldorf with Bernd Becher. I guess that’s not too hard to guess from looking at his work. I’m going to refrain from discussing whether it really deserves a Hasselblad Foundation grant given that it’s basically re-doing Becher’s work with just very slightly different subjects.
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Nov 10, 2003

Roland Fischer is currently featured at Munich’s modern art museum (Pinakothek der Moderne).
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Oct 3, 2003

Michael Wesely has been doing all kinds of photographic experiments and I’m having a very hard time to decide which one I like the most. His long-term exposures (see above) are totally stunning, as are his abstract photos (“abstractions”).
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Oct 3, 2003

Marco Breuer’s photos are much closer to what people might consider as actual pieces of artwork than most other photos. He literally works on the photographic paper using all kinds of techniques.
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Sep 17, 2003

Matthias Hoch’s work shows urban structures devoid of humans.
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Aug 5, 2003

Rainer Zerback’s photos show empty, slightly surreal worlds.
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Aug 4, 2003

Lothar Wolleh’s work includes portraits of many modern artists such as Gerhard Richter (see photo above), Rene Magritte, and many many others. For Beuys lovers there’s a series of photos of the artist installing one of his works in Stockholm in 1971. Note how every word on that page contains a link…
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Jul 28, 2003

Check out Christian Schmidt’s landscapes.
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Jul 21, 2003

German photographer Stefan Hanke has plenty of interesting portraits in his portfolio. Unfortunately, the titles are all in German. Click through them anyway, it’s quite interesting.
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Jul 10, 2003

Johannes Backes’ style reminds me of the Düsseldorf School photographers. His projects/topics are very interesting. Most of them have English descriptions to give you an idea what you’re looking at. Unfortunately, one doesn’t and that’s the one I like the most. Bundesstrasse Nr. 1 follows what the Nazis called “Reichsstrasse Nr. 1” - a motorway (note: it’s actually not an autobahn) which originates in Aachen, cuts through Berlin, and ends in what used to be East Prussian Königsberg.
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Jul 9, 2003

Phyllis Tuchman reviews Thomas Struth’s “Museum Photographs”. (thru artkrush)
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Jul 3, 2003

Herbert Böttcher combines pinhole cameras with digital manipulation to create his semi-abstract photographs.
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Jun 20, 2003

There’s a lot of good stuff on Bertold Steinhilber’s website. I’m almost reluctant to single out something.
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Jun 11, 2003

Jürgen Teller won this year’s Citibank Photography Prize. Here’s an interview with him from The Gaurdian (which The Guardian hasn’t retracted, yet), and if you want it quirky why don’t you check out (Umlaut heavy) Jürgen Teller interviewing Björk?
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May 28, 2003

Especially since his big show at New York’s MoMA Andreas Gursky seems to be everybody’s favourite modern German photographer. Most of his literally gigantic photos are way too big to be shown on the internet.
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May 26, 2003

The new edition of Leica World features lots of interesting photographers. Finding their work online has been tough, though. I started looking for Herlinde Koelbl and, in the end, all I could really find was not the work I originally was interested in but instead a project called “Spuren der Macht” (“Traces of Power”). For the project, Herlinde Koelbl took one photo per year of a set of German politicians throughout the years 1991 to 1998. Non-Germans wil probably only be familiar with the faces of Gerhard Schröder, the current Chancellor, and Joschka Fischer, his deputy and Germany’s foreign minister. It’s too bad the photos end in 1998 when Schröder and Fischer came to power. It’s very interesting to see how Gerhard Schröder almost doesn’t change at all whereas Joschka Fischer undergoes some transformations (and not just in weight).
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May 20, 2003

Boris Becker, another Becher pupil (who is not identical with the tennis player), has his own website.
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May 20, 2003

Lee Siegel takes a closer look at Thomas Struth’s objectivity (another review can be found here, and there are six of Struth’s photos online on the MET’s website). Struth is another famous graduate of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
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May 14, 2003

Jens Bennewitz’ started out with a Lomo and now is doing very different work.
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May 14, 2003

Jörg Sasse - another Becher student - has his own website with tons of photos in different categories.
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May 13, 2003

Robert Häusser won the “Kulturpreis 2000” of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie.
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May 13, 2003

Upcoming at the Tate Britain, a retrospective of Wolfgang Tillmans’ work (portrayed above by Norbert Schörner).
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May 13, 2003

At the Liverpool Tate Gallery, there’s a big Thomas Ruff retrospective. The Tate’s magazine features an article about his work which includes a collection of various images. There also is what they call a Thomas Ruff Montage Maker - which I didn’t look at myself (for technical reasons - it’s designed for Microsoft’s “Internet Explorer” which I refuse to use).
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May 6, 2003

fotoetage.de is a photo agency from Bremen, a town in the north of Germany. Apart from the snazy presentation they got a bunch of cool photographers (check out Nikolai Wolff!)
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Apr 29, 2003

I tried to find photos by the Bechers but I wasn’t too successful. Here are some of their water towers, above you can see some of the frame-work houses. The Goethe Institute has a nice bio and some notes on their work: “Founders of a new German school of Sachlichkeit , or objectivity, the uncompromising way they have catalogued the twilight of the industrial era has been seen by many as a homage to, or a glorification of, western industriality. Perhaps. Looking a little further, one can begin to see inconsistencies and slippage in a parody of a catalogue of the real.” (at the very bottom of that page, there are three links to photos) PS: It’s quite interesting that the word “objectivity” isn’t a completely exact translation of the German word “Sachlichkeit”. Maybe I’m too anal about it (you might think) but in being that I am actually following that kind of concept to a certain extent. Of course, I can’t come up with a better translation. Maybe you can understand it like this: When you meet a German you’ll note that they are almost a tad too deadpan about things. I’ve noticed that non-Germans think Germans simply have no sense of humour but that’s just a simplifying misconception. I remember I once made a somewhat absurd joke in front of my advisor in grad school - a Brit - and he thought I was being serious. He just couldn’t imagine a German would say something like that, with a deadpan expression, and joke at the same time. There’s a lot of Sachlichkeit in many Germans. You state things the way they are and that’s it. Of course, it’s somewhat absurd if a German tries to explain something like that - how could you ever make sense talking about yourself? - but maybe you got an idea of what this is all about.
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Apr 28, 2003

Following up on an earlier entry about Thomas Ruff, here is an interesting article from artnet.com about Thomas Ruff with more details about his work and background in general. I think the author’s reference to German painter Gerhard Richter is very important. Thomas Ruff is teaching at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and you can look at his students’ portfolios here. And there are more examples from Ruff’s “Nudes” series” here and here (note: the latter link sometimes is a bit flaky).
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