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1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1924 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 2


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THE HIS TORY OF 20 TH CENTURY EUROPEAN PHOTOGRAPHY The project characteristics

The History of European Photography (1900 – 2000) is an international research project spanning the whole of Europe. The project’s main aim is to publish an encyclopaedia in English (5000 copies per volume, about 600 pages per book), divided into three volumes / periods, volume 1 – 1900 – 1938, volume 2 – 1939-1970, volume 3 1971 – 2000. Each volume of the encyclopaedia will be organized alphabetically by country. A study on the history of photography in each country will be written by an expert on photography from that country. Alongside the main studies, each book will contain extensive additional material, biographies of mentioned photographers, and timetables marking cultural, socio-political and technical photographic events in each country for a given period. There will be two types of indices in each book: an index of mentioned photographers and an index of other historical names and subjects. The project is coordinated by Prof. Václav Macek, chairman of FOTOFO association, professor at the University of Performing Arts, Bratislava, and director of the Month of Photography festival, Bratislava. In the last three years, we have put together a team of 46 internationally renown experts from 35 countries, such as Gerry Badger, Hans Michael Koetzle, Mark Tamisier, Vladimír Birgus, Jan-Erik Lundström (see below). Using this strategy, we can guarantee the first class quality of our information. The first volume can be published as early as spring 2010, volume 2 should come out in November 2010 and 3 is being prepared for publication in two years.

Target groups

The target group of the encyclopaedia ‚The History of 20th Century European Photography‘ in English, the first of its kind in the field of photography, are not only experts and scholars in European photography, but also a broader public interested in art and photography. Furthermore, the book is meant to serve as a referential source for educational institutions, schools, libraries, public cultural institutions, galleries and museums. As the first complex overview of European Photography in the 20th century, the encyclopaedia is a primary source in the study of photography. In the field of science, the book presents the status quo of knowledge for each European country and as such it represents a basis for historians of photography and art in their research. In the commercial sphere, photography has been gaining still bigger popularity among a broad public which is reflected not only in auctions and sales but also in the market for exhibitions and publications on photography. Long-term results

Our primary goal is to fill a gap in the theory of photography. While all existing publications on this topic focus only on leading countries in European photography, such as France, Great Britain or Germany, omitting more than half of the continent, we are offering a complete overview of photographic development in the 20th century, from Iceland to Russia and from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. This three-volume publication will also pave the way for future scientific research and comparative studies on a pan-European level.

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Author s: Albania: Rubens Shima, director, National Gallery of Art, Tirane Austria: Anton Holzer, Fotogeschichte editor-in-chief, Vienna (volume 1), Ulrike Matzer, art historian and critic, Vienna (volume 2) Belarus: Nadya Savchenko, Minsk Belgium: Georges Vercheval, founder and former director of Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi Bulgaria: Katerina Gadjeva, Lecturer in History of Culture Department, New Bulgarian University, Sofia Croatia: Želimir Koščević, freelance curator Czech Rep.: Vladimír Birgus, Institut of Creative Photography, Salesian University, Opava Denmark: Mette Mortensen, Film and Media Studies Section, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Louise Wolters, photo historian Estonia: Peeter Linnap, art critic and theorist, TV director, curator and teacher, Professor and Head of Photography Department at TAC (Tartu Art College) Finland: Kimmo Lehtonen, Lecturer in Digital Culture, Studies In Visual Communication, University of Jyväskylä France: Marc Tamisier, photo historian Germany: Dr. Ivo Kranzfelder (volume 1) lecturer of history and theory of photography, University for Applied Sciences in Würzburg, curator of private collection, Hans-Michael Koetzle (volume 2) freelance art critic, writer and curator based in Munich Great Britain: Gerry Badger, photo historian and critic

Greece: Nina Kassianou, curator and photography critic (Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Photographic Centre of Skopelos) Hungary: Béla Albertini (volume 1) Lecturer in art history and photographic reportage, Eötvös-Loránd-University (Budapest), University Kaposvár, Peter Baki (volume 2) director, Hungarian Museum of Photography, Kecskemét

tion Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen Poland: Lech Lechowicz (volume 1), Film School, Lodz, Adam Sobota (volume 2) curator of the National Museum, Wrocław Portugal: Emilia Tavares, curator, the Chiado Museum, Lúcia Marques, independent curator and critic

Iceland: Aesa Sigurjonsdottir, art historian, lecturer at the University of Iceland and Iceland Art Academy, freelance curator

Romania: Silvian Ionescu, freelance curator and art historian (volume 1), Mihai Oroveanu (volume 2), National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest

Ireland: Dr. Justin Carville, PhD, MA, BA (Hons), Historical & Theoretical Studies in Photography, School of Creative Arts, Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dublin

Russia: Irina Tchmyreva, head researcher, Photographic Department of Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow

Italy: Gigliola Foschi, (volume 1) critic and photographic art historian, Roberto Mutti (volume 2) photography critic Lithuania: Margarita Matulyté (volume 1), Agne Narušyté (volume 2) research fellow at Napier University, Edinburgh, UK, supervises practice-based PhD students at the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts Latvia: Vilnis Auziņš, Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga Luxembourg: Paul di Felice and Edmond Thill, Musée National d‘Histoire et d‘Art, Luxembourg (volume 1), Paul di Felice (volume 2) professor of visual arts, artist, editor, curator and art critic Moldova: Irina Grabovan, director of the Art Center AoRTa The Netherlands: Tamara Bergmans, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (volume 1) Norway: Sigrid Lien (volume 1) phd, prof., University in Bergen, Peter Larsen (volume 2) Department of Informa-

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Serbia: Milanka Todic (volume 1) Faculty of Applied Arts and Design, Beograd, Goran Malic (volume 2) National Centre of Photography, Beograd Slovakia: Václav Macek, director, Central European House of Photography, Bratislava Slovenia: Lara Štrumej (volume 1), senior curator at The Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana, Primož Lampič (volume 2), Architecturni muzej, publicist and critic Spain: Juan Naranjo, freelance curator, Barcelona Sweden: Jan-Erik Lundström, director, Bildmuseet, Ulmea Switzerland: Martin Gasser (volume 1), curator Fotostiftung Schweiz, Peter Pfrunder (volume 2), director Fotostiftung Schweiz Ukraine: Tetyana Pavlova, Kharkov, art critic, member of the International Association of Arts Critics (Certification 1263), Freelance curator


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Coor dinator’s profile FOTOFO is a non-governmental, non-profit organization focused on promoting the art of photography. The association was founded in 1992. Prof. Václav Macek has been its chairman from the start. The association’s mission is to function as a scientific institution in the field of photography, promote quality photography from Slovakia and from abroad and publish literature on photography, as well as bringing the phenomenon of photography to a wider audience. FOTOFO is one of the organizers an annual festival called Month of Photography, Bratislava, which belongs to the Festival of Light network and to the Photo Festival Union network. The association also publishes a photographic journal, Imago, and has founded a “Slovak Photography Personality of the Year” award. Together with Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, House of Photography, Moscow, Café-Crème, Luxembourg, ZoneAttive, Rome, Kulturprojekte, Berlin and Vladimir und Estragon, Vienna, FOTOFO helps to organize the European Month of Photography festival (exhibitions Mutations I in 2006/7, Mutations II in 2008/9). Since November 2004, FOTOFO has been running the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava, housing the Profile and Fuji Film galleries, offering monthly photography exhibitions, building a public photographic library, organizing workshops in digital photography for children and adults, and organizing topical events accompanying the monthly exhibitions, such as debates, screenings, etc.

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Photographers Burda, Vani

Marubi, Pjetro

Idromeno, KolĂŤ

Pici, Shan

Marubi, Kel

Sotiri, Kristaq

Th e H i s to r y o f A l b a ni a n P ho to g r a ph y Rubens Shima

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The Histor y of Albanian Pho togr aphy Artistic developments in Albania have followed a unique path, largely due to the country’s unusual history and political events. Since the end of the 15th century Albania formed part of the Ottoman Empire and was partitioned into different administrative regions. These regions were continuously affected by an array of political and military reforms imposed by the Ottoman administration. Albania’s first moves towards independence began at the end of the 19th century, with independence finally won in 1912. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Shkodra was one of the main Albanian cities where a new bourgeois social class with Western European ideals developed. The city gradually grew into a key naval and mercantile centre with highly developed, important sea connections and major city ports throughout the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas, a position which it retained until the middle of the 20th century. Economic progress and the prosperity that came with it also stimulated the development of education and created favourable conditions for the arts to flourish. Being the country’s largest northern city and an administrative centre with a notable social, economical and cultural gravitas, Shkodra forged a clear national consciousness. Historical chronicles tell of a thriving economy striving to move forward. Many European countries had their consulates in Shkodra, which demonstrates the importance the city had for the Ottoman Empire and the region. Initially under Austro-Hungarian influence and later under the Italians, the city developed an ever-increasing interest in the applied arts. Amongst the cultural institutions that opened in the 19th century were two religious establishments: the Colleges of the Jesuits and the Franciscans. The Bushati Library, opened in 1840, served as a meeting point for all the Catholic missionaries who worked in the city. In the last two decades of the 19th century the city produced the first Albanian musical band and the first Albanian theatre. Foreign cultural influences and the artistic customs of the times, alongside many native artists (some of whom by now were educated in the West) would have an effect on the city’s way of life. In this artistic climate, the transformation and development of the city, and indeed of Albanian society as a whole, was captured by a new technology: photography. This new invention was met with astonishment but would soon take its rightful place in the difficult artistic terrain of the period. The faithful capture of an image in such a swift and seemingly effortless manner came as a revelation to Albanian society, prompting the creation of a historical documentary index of events, urban landscapes and portraits. At the end of 19th century, this new invention created a priceless treasure for the city of Shkodra that later would influence the history of the entire country as well. Albanian photography in its infancy had to deal with the historical, political and cultural changes that the country was then going through. Independent characters and events had to be documented as unique and irreplaceable historical moments. There was a need in Albania to document everyday life, the city, the customs and costumes so nothing from the centuries-old ethnographic and cultural heritage would be lost. A quick look at this collection of photographs Pjetro Marubi (1834 – 1903), A highlander from Dukagjini, ca. 1880 s, collodion process, glass plate 13 x 18 cm, Fototeka Kombëtare Marubi, Shkodër.

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shows the importance of each photo in testifying to the history and culture of the country and in conveying the real features of a nation. The technology of photography came to Albania in the mid 19th century through Pjetro Marubi (or Marubbi). It is thought that he took the first Albanian photograph sometime between the years 1860 – 1864.1 In the beginning every photograph was captured on wet glass plates coated with silver iodide (wet collodion process), plates which were prepared by the photographer himself. Later, around the years 1885 – 1890, the wet collodion process was replaced by manufactured dry glass plates. In this way, his photography became the first artistic medium to capture images of Albanians. At this time in Albania, the people, the majority of whom were Muslim, with small Catholic and Orthodox minorities, veered undecidedly between an oriental and a western culture. There was no tradition, in painting and sculpture, of creating artistic images inspired by everyday life. Up to that point the Albanians had been familiar only with religious imagery, consisting of the floral decorations and motifs of the mosques and tekkes, the frescoes and icons in Orthodox churches and monasteries and the Western European imported sculptures and paintings which formed part of the interiors of the Catholic churches. This is why photography so astonished the people when it first came to the city. Pjetro Marubi’s first photographs show us cityscapes, highlanders, merchants, townsmen, regional dresses and costumes. One of his earliest photographs, shows an anonymous highlander from Northern Albania. He has been portrayed standing up, in a full-length portrait, in order that his pose, garments and weapons complement his overall character. He also produced carte-de-visite portraits.2 In the beginning Pjetro Marubi’s photographs were produced in his studio3 and then, later on, with the advancement of photographic technology, he started to take outdoor pictures of city scenes. The human figure comprises the majority of Marubi’s artistic range. His models generally stand in the middle of the scene, often in front of a painted backdrop or natural scenery. This gives his subjects, and consequently his photographs, a more artistic character. The lighting comes mainly from the left or from the front. Many of the characters look straight ahead towards the camera, posing in a challenging manner against photography as a social event. Their hands are busy holding firearms or tools of trade: every single gesture tells us something about the model’s character and personality. The warriors stand upright and ready, their hands gently resting on their weapons, often looking the camera right in the eye. This way of posing and posturing became a preferred formula for Marubi and is repeated continuously in his work. The firearms and dresses in all the photos taken by the Marubi Dynasty4 make up an impressive collection of photographic props and costumes, informing us on the prevalent taste and design of that era. Marubi’s photos can be clearly divided into two major groups, each with a specific artistic and historic importance: those taken in the studio and those taken outdoors. In those belonging to the first group we notice a growing inclination towards a psychological study of the subject where he pays the same attention to both the artistic quality of the photograph and to the historical importance of the subject. The photos of large groups of people were taken mostly outdoors and overall have a value as documentary evidence. Marubi photographed not only people and characters but also places and venues where important events took place.

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1

It is not possible to give a precise date for the first Albanian photograph. The Albanian sources, including the Albanian Encyclopedic Dictionary (Fjalori Enciklopedik Shqiptar, Tirana, 1985, p. 286; Fjalori Enciklopedik Shqiptar, Vellimi II, Tirana, 2008, p. 1638;) (I have added this new reference as it is needed. It is not in the text you sent me for approval) quote year 1858 as the date of the first photograph, but so far there is no convincing evidence to back this date up.

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“...Some carte-de-visites portraits by Pjetro Marubi measured 10 x 14.5 cm, and are mounted on cards with a 0.5cm border... The prints look like salt prints, but are probably made on albumen paper... Many are handcoloured and varnished. On the back is written in Italian and Turkish, Marubi P. Fotografo in Scutari d’Albania. These prints were made around 1870.” Gérard Girard, History of Photography, (International Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 3 July 1982), p. 244.

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“... This studio was 7 metres long by 5 metres wide. The façade and two thirds of the room was made of glass so that the light could enter in equal amounts from above and from the sides. The glass panels were covered with huge black moveable cotton baize curtains that could be drawn and opened by hand to allow the desired amount of light in. The first photographic cameras used in Albania were German and French makes with dimensions of 40 by 30 cm and slots to hold two negative plates, 26 by 31 cm and 21 by 27cm. Photography took place in the open air, usually in shady areas. Later appeared cameras atop wooden tripods measuring 18 by 24 cm and 13 by 18 cm”. Kahreman Ulqini, Gjurmë të Historisë Kombëtare në Fototekën e Shkodrës, (Shtëpia Botuese 8 Nëntori, Tiranë, 1982), pp. 2-3.

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The “Marubi Dynasty“ consisted of three Marubis; Pjetro, Kel and Gegë Marubi. It lasted for approximately a century, from around 1860΄s until 1950΄s.


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His full name at birth was Mikel Kodheli.

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Zani Shkodrës translates as The Voice of Shkodra.

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The photograph Kapiteni Mark Raka dhe Bajraktari i Shalës, which translates as Captain Mark Raka and Bajraktar of Shala, is also known under the title Dorzimi i Armëve (The Handover of Firearms).

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The Bajraktar is the hereditary leader of a bajrak, a traditional political and administrative entity in Northern Albania. The word Bajraktar comes from Turkish and literally means ”clan chieftain“. The Bajraktar in this photograph is a real life character called Lush Prela. The captain is also a real life character called Mark Raka.

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This photo has been included in the book The Photography Book, Phaidon, London, 2000, p. 302

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Pjetro Marubi’s studio was such a great success that the old master had to take on assistants. One of them was the 15-year-old Kel Marubi (Kodheli).5 Upon the master’s death in 1903, Kel inherited Pjetro Marubi’s photo studio, known as “Studio Marubbi” and decided to change his surname to Marubi in homage to and in memory of Pjetro Marubi. Thus began the history of the Marubi dynasty. The studio changed too. New props, painted backgrounds and new equipment improved the technical quality of the photos. New sources of light were added to the studio, in different arrangements, increasing the quantity of detail in the photographs. Kel Marubi worked on dry plates of silver gelatine-bromide in 120 x 120 cm format. The subjects he chose to photograph were mostly historical events and aspects of the life and culture of the highlanders. As a photographer he tried to work in colour but he achieved greater artistic results in black and white. Unlike his adoptive father, who preferred to capture the “natural moment”, he shows a clear tendency to direct and stage his photos, especially those depicting the key moments in the life of the Albanian highlanders. Kel Marubi, is arguably the best Albanian photographer of his era as well as a devoted and passionate Albanian patriot deeply involved with local patriotic clubs and associations. He took photographs of the first government of the independent Albania. He was the founder of the newspaper “Zani Shkodrës”6. He was also one of the photographers of the Albanian Royal Court of King Zog during the years of the Albanian monarchy (1928 – 1939). Moreover, he was commissioned by King Nicholas of Montenegro (1841 – 1921) to photograph several weddings and events of the Montenegrin Royal Court at the turn of the century. One of his most renowned photos, Kapiteni Mark Raka dhe Bajraktari i Shalës7 shows us the act of handing over firearms by the Bajraktar8, the most influential figure of the region, to an official of the young Albanian state. Taken in 1922 the photo was inspired by real life events, namely the Government’s reform to collect firearms all over the country. This is an indoor photo taken in Marubi’s studio. All the people posing for the photograph are real personalities of everyday life with an important social and official status. Kel Marubi tries to create a directorial, almost idyllic, mise-en-scene of the event. This can be seen in the carefully studied arrangement of the models, their compositional pose and the peacefulness that prevails throughout the whole photograph. Given the Albanian highlanders’ historical close association with firearms, the purpose of the photograph was to help the government’s attempt to disarm the population. Kel Marubi invited these important and influential people to sit for him so they could perform the act of handing over the guns in the most noble and dignified manner. The mass publication of this photograph would make common people see and recognize their leaders handing over the arms and encourage them to follow their example. This image, one of the most accomplished compositions of Albanian photography, is a clear example of photography becoming a propaganda tool.9 Being a careful observer of the surrounding environment, everyday life and small details, Kel Marubi photographed with the same intensity and special concern women weaving at the loom, merchants, foreign militaries, distinguished visitors to the city, writers and poets, fighters and noblemen. Even in these photographs we feel and see the theatrical staging, the deep observation of peoples’ features and personality and the compositional arrangement of the subject. Kel Marubi was the principal photographer in the country from 1890 until the early 1920s. He created the figure of the modern Albanian photographer, which would be followed ardently by all subsequent artists in Shkodra and throughout

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the country. He died in 1940 and his son, Gegë Marubi10, the last of the Marubi Dynasty, took over the studio.11 Kolë Idromeno is another significant artistic personality in Shkodra and the country’s most important painter at the turn of the century. He was a complex artist who also made an important contribution to the development of Albanian architecture and photography. After attending lectures in drawing at the studio of Pjetro Marubi, Idromeno later moved to Venice where it seems he studied painting at the city’s academy of Fine Art for a short time. In 1884, he opened a photo studio in Shkodra called Dritëshkronja e Kolës. Idromeno’s subjects show characters, ensembles of intentionally arranged figures; they document historical events by building up compositional situations and moods. In his photographs nothing is left to chance. The scenes have been thought out down to the smallest detail, each element taken in turn. His creative output during his whole life vacillated between photography and painting. In the words of Gérard Girard, Idromeno was the first Albanian painter “...to make use of photography as a way of taking notes

10 His full name at birth was Grigor Marubi. 11 The Marubi Collection is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and consists of a rich photographic archive with over 200,000 original negatives, mainly on silver bromide glass plates, hosted in Shkodra, in “Fototeka Marubi”. The photography of Shkodra had as its leaders the Marubi Dynasty, followed by the Pici Family, Pjetër Raboshta, Angjelin Nenshati and the photographer Dedë Jakova (1917 – 1973).

Kel Marubi (1870 – 1940), Captain Mark Raka and Bajraktar of Shala, 1922, dry glass plate, 10 x 15 cm, Fototeka Kombëtare Marubi, Shkodër.

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12 His photo-archive is kept at the Instituti i Kulturës Popullore (Institute of Popular Culture) in Tirana. 13 Pici family left a legacy of nearly 70,000 photos in glass dry plates and celluloid. 14 Kahreman Ulqini, Gjurmë të Historisë Kombëtare në Fototekën e Shkodrës, Shtëpia Botuese 8 Nëntori, Tiranë, 1982, pp.2 – 3.

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in making sketches”. As a photographer he started out using the wet collodion process but then moved on to dry plates. His photographic legacy is upwards of 2000 glass dry plates.12 Shan Pici is the most prominent photographer out of the Pici family, a family that influenced the development of photography in Shkodra.13 Shan Pici got his first taste of photography in Marubi’s studio. In1924, he and his brothers Ndrek and Tefë Pici opened their own studio. Shan quickly moved out of the studio in search of wildlife and landscape photography. He captured the Albanian natural habitat with all its great contrasts and diverse terrains. Pici is known primarily as a landscape photographer but he also documented the social, sporting and artistic events of the city. He tried to create an artistic identity by moving away from the focus and themes of Pjetro Marubi. At first, photographers in Shkodra used the collodion process. Then, around the years 1885 – 1890, the collodion process was replaced with dry plates, which were glass plates coated with a gelatine emulsion of silver bromide. As has been noted, this presented a real advantage over the old technique of wet collodion, not only because it made it possible to take photographs much more quickly, but also because now photographers could easily move from one place to another without carrying an enormous amount of chemicals and other equipment with them.14 This new improvement allowed Albanian photography to develop quickly, but this rapid growth was not accompanied by journals or magazines on photo­graphy. Instead many series of photograph-postcards were sold. Initially, the art of photography [the photographic process] was handed down from craftsman to craftsman. Then, later, at the beginning of the 20th century, a trend emerges whereby photographers spend their formative years abroad, to take specialist courses on photography. These new photographers who had studied abroad brought back the latest technical knowledge, materials and photographic equipment. The city of Korça, always noted for its elaborate culture and patriotic feelings, forms the other important Albanian artistic centre, in the south east of the country. It was here in 1887 that the first Albanian language grammar school opened as well as the first young women’s institute in 1891. At the beginning of the 20th century the city was invaded by Greece (1912 – 1914) and then France (1916 – 1920). The first Albanian Lycée opened in 1917 during the French occupation. Photography came early to Korça, arguably through Jani Zengo, a priest, artist and iconographer, who had learned the technique of photography in Greece. Kristaq Sotiri meanwhile is one of the most important Albanian photo­ graphers of the 20th century and certainly the most accomplished. He was born in Mborje, a village close to Korça, but his artistic development was influenced greatly by his experiences in the photographic studios of the USA where he stayed for nearly two decades. One of the studios where he stayed for eight years and perfected his technique was George Steckel’s photography studio in Los Angeles. Here, Sotiri learnt more advanced photographic methods and practices. In 1922 – 1923 he settled for a short time in New York and opened a studio. Then in 1923, for unknown reasons, he returned home to Korça, where he settled down and opened a new studio, Studio Sotiri, concentrating more on portrait photography. His experiences in the USA played an integral part in his artistic development and set him apart from any other Albanian photographer of the time. His photography, based primarily on the pictorialist movement’s approaches and using impressionistic soft focus and aestheticized poses, is noted for giving the portrait a lyrical aura using diffused and combined light. To make contact prints Sotiri

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used all formats, mostly in the 18 by 12 cm and 10 by 15 cm plates although some fine photography examples are found in the 18 by 24 cm and 24 by 30 cm format. This process was quite expensive and not everybody could afford it. Sotiri photographed only at certain times of the day, making the most of the natural light. His studio, built on the ground floor of his home, very quickly made a name for itself as a quality studio, with the rich and the bourgeoisie being its most frequent clients. In contrast with the monumentality of Marubis’ photos, Sotiri’s are noted for their clarity, refinement and delicacy, especially when portraying women and outcasts. He also took some beautiful landscapes. Kristaq Sotiri left a photo archive of around 11,000 negatives and plates, portraits and landscapes mostly of the regions of Korça and Pogradec. Another important photographer to open a studio in Korça was Vani Burda. Like Sotiri before him he also emigrated but unlike Sotiri he went to the Albanian colony in Bucharest, Romania. He returned to Albania in 1920 and shortly afterwards opened a photo studio in his hometown. He is remembered mostly for his documentary photographs of popular movements of the time and his photographic collages. The main trend in Albanian photography of the 1920s and 30s was to show the modernizing processes in Albanian life and culture, documenting the social changes happening in the country. Many images show details of the interaction between urban elements and the customs and traditions of the past. During the second decade of the 20th century, photography in Albania started spreading throughout the country. Competition between photographers and the availability of various foreign journals on photography helped raise the overall technical quality of the studios. New genres were created such as the photoposter, the photo-collage, photojournalism and photography for tourist purposes. The Albanian press started publishing the first materials by excellent Albanian photojournalists such as Ymer Bali, Dedë Jakova and Kolë Maca. In 1928, the first Albanian photo-album was published, entitled “Shqipria e Ilustruar”15, containing detailed geographical and panoramic information about Albania. In 1938, the photo-album entitled 10 Vjetë Mbretni 1928 – 193816 was published, covering a wide range of topics such as royal ceremonies and views from Albania. In Tirana the activities of Ymer Bali, one of the main photographers of the abovementioned album, and Jani Ristani are noteworthy: together with Vasil Ristani, they opened a technologically innovative studio called Shtëpi për Arte Fotografike17 in 1936. The National Body of Tourism in 1937 – 1938 created a fertile environment for the development of Landscape Photography for tourist purposes. Noteworthy amongst female photographers is the activity of Bernardina Marubi in Shkodra, who was the daughter of Kel Marubi and also the first female photographer in the country. The Albanian photography collections from the 1860s until 1938 are irreplaceable historical documents of prime importance since they are the most natural visual memory of the Albanian people’s cultural evolution and national identity. At the same time they represent some of the greatest Albanian artistic qualities from the end of the 19th until the middle of the 20th century.

15 Shqipria e Ilustruar translates as Illustrated Albania. 16 10 Vjetë Mbretni 1928 – 1938 translates as 10 years of the Albanian Kingdom 1928 – 1938. 17 Shtëpi për Arte Fotografike translates as The House for Photographic Arts.

Translated from Albanian to English by Genti Gjikola, Arthur Byng Nelson

Kel Marubi (1870 – 1940), Gjystina Zef Kola and her Son, 1925, dry glass plate, 10 x 15 cm, Fototeka Kombëtare Marubi, Shkodër.

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Biographical Notes:

Burda, Vani (Korça, 1875 – 1949) learned photography in Rumania and in 1913 designed the first Albanian photoposter. He also developed the first photographic collages which were popular as postcards in patriotic circles. He opened his own studio in Korça in 1920. Idromeno, Kolë (Nikollë Idromeno) (Shkodra, 1860 – 1939) was a gifted artist with notable contributions to painting, photography and architecture. He took his first drawing lessons in the atelier of Pjetro Marubi and there he came in contact with photography. He later went to Venice where he apparently studied painting at the city’s academy of Fine Arts for a short time. In 1884 he opened his own photographic studio in Shkodra called Dritëshkronja e Kolës. He was the first Albanian to show a film in his hometown in 1911 – 1912. As an architect he was noted for building some of the most renowned buildings in Shkodra such as the Grand Café, the National Bank and others. He is revered as one of the most complex and important Albanian artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Marubi, Kel (Mikel Kodheli) (Shkodra, 1870 – 1940) started working in Pjetro Marubi’s studio as an assistant and in 1885 served a two-year photography apprenticeship in Guglielmo Sebastianutti’s studio in Trieste, Italy, returning to work with Pjetro Marubi in his studio. In 1903, on the death of Marubi, he inherited the studio and changed his name to Kel Marubi. In the late 1920s he enrolled as one of the

official photographers to King Zog’s court. At the height of his activity he was a permanent member of Shkodra’s city council and had a major influence on the political life of the city. Marubi, Pjetro (Pietro Marubbi) (Piacenza, Italy 1834 – 1903) lived and worked in Shkodra but little is known of his early years. Allegedly a supporter of Garibaldi, he left Italy for political reasons, chased by Austrian troops, and he initially travelled to Corfu and then to Vlora in Albania. Following the advice of the Italian consul there he visited Shkodra, a city that then had a population of around 45,000 people and over 3,000 stores. As an amateur painter and decorator he settled there and in the early 1860s set up a photography studio, the first in Albania, called Marubbi P. He is the founder of Albanian photography and also painted the murals and frescoes of the Orthodox Church in Shkodra.

Sotiri, Kristaq (Mborje 1883 – 1970) emigrated to the United States at an early age where he gained valuable photographic experience by working in various studios. For eight years he worked at George Steckel’s Portrait Studio in Los Angeles (a studio where Edward Weston had worked before him in 1908 as a retoucher). In 1922 he moved to New York and in 1923, after nearly 20 years in the United States, he returned home to Korça where he opened Studio Sotiri. He focused particularly on photoportraiture, achieving remarkable results. In 1974, the Grand Palace of Culture in Tirana held a major retrospective of some of his best works.

Pici, Shan (a.k.a. Mark Pici) (Shkodra, 1904 – 1976) had his first contact with photography in Studio Marubbi. In 1924, he and his brothers Tefë and Ndrekë opened their own photographic studio in Shkodra. He particularly focused on panoramic and landscape photography and photographic documentation of sporting and social events.

18 “...Pjetro Marubi painted the murals and frescoes of the Orthodox Church in Shkodra.” Taken from M. Prendushi, Kolë Idromeno, Tiranë, 1984, p .19.

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Photographers Alexandre

Fierlants, Edmond

Marissiaux, Gustave

Antony, Maurice

Gevaert, Lieven

Borrenbergen, Jozef Emiel

Ghémar, Louis

Mesens, Edouard Léon Théodore

Buyle, Ferdinand Breyer, Albert Chavepeyer, Emile Claine, EvrardGuillaume Colard, Hector De Smet, Robert Dhuicque, Eugène Dubreuil, Pierre

Misonne, Léonard

Ghisoland, Norbert

Neuckens, Antony

Guidalevitch, Victor

Nougé, Paul

Guiette, René

Remes, Henri

Hannon, Edouard

Rombaut, Emile

Hersleven, Jacques

Simenon, Georges

Kessels, Willy

Sterken, Jozef

Lefrancq, Marcel-G.

Sury, Joseph

Leirens, Charles

Ubac, Raoul

Magritte, René

Van Parys, Germaine

Massart, Jean

Th e H i s to r y o f B e l g i a n P ho to g r a ph y Georges Vercheval

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The Histor y of Belgian Pho togr aphy Belgium was founded in 1830, nine years before the first daguerreotype was revealed. Too early for the September Days, which heralded the country’s new independence, to be captured on film. Not soon enough to chart the construction of the first railway line on the continent, between Brussels and Mechelen, in 1836. “Belgium, country of several worlds” wrote Franz Hellens. Culture and the arts radiate out even to the smallest towns, and they are expressed in French, Flemish and even German! This diversity is an indisputable treasure. The character of the Escaut river, renamed De Schelde further down its course, is not like that of the Meuse. Flanders, a flat landscape with “a sky so low that a canal got lost in it”, as Jacques Brel sang, differs from the gentle undulating Brabant region and the dark forests of the Ardennes. The twists and turns of history, cultural exchanges and trade bolstered complicity in the region. The Port of Antwerp was in the process of expansion. In Wallonia, industry was on a par with Great Britain in terms of creativity and productivity. Leopold II, the second King of Belgium, bought the independent state of Congo for himself, as his own private property. He later offered it to Belgium, which accepted it in 1908... Like Belgium, photography is a mixture of truth and fiction, and it has found a home here. Photography might even have been invented in Belgium: in February 1839, Albert Breyer, a student of German origin at the faculty of medicine at the University of Liège, created photographic proofs on paper. He sent them to the Academy of Sciences in Brussels, twice, with no response. He then became a doctor and organised free consultations for workers... Immediately after the daguerreotype had been disclosed, the first one in Belgium was carried out by Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Jobard on 16 September 1839, in Brussels where he was living at the time. Exchanges did not stop at the border. W. H. F. Talbot, John Muir Wood, Reverend Calvert Jones would travel to Flanders, Liège, Brussels and the French, the Germans, the Swiss opened some studios. Guillaume Claine and Edmond Fierlants listed the architectural heritage as early as in the 1860s. In 1870, Louis Ghémar, famous for his photographic portraits of the 80 guests (including Nadar and Carjat) at the banquet given in 1862 in honour of Victor Hugo during his exile, also published an album showing the covering of the Senne, the river which runs through Brussels, and its effect on urban infrastructure. Similarly, in 1872, Armand Dandoy published La Province de Namur monumentale et pittoresque. These initiatives could not have continued at the beginning of the 20th century had it not been for the work of Jean Massart, who defended nature and the wilderness and created a catalogue of outstanding sites, emphasising their fragility in a way that was ahead of its time. The National Botanic Gardens of Belgium published two volumes of this catalogue in 1908 and 1912, but the war interrupted the project. We should note here that photography in Belgium received one significant boost when, in 1890, Lieven Gevaert, photographer in Antwerp, began to manufacture sensitive material and chemical products. Gevaert and Co, established in 1894, was soon recognised for his products throughout the world. Gevaert merged with Agfa in 1964.

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In the Photo Anthony-Permeke family workshop in Ypres, portrait photography and reporting were carried out during the First World War. On the Yser Front, German progress was halted but Maurice and Robert Anthony saw the human disaster and the extent of the destruction (Ypres was a ghost town in 1919) and decided to chronicle their experiences. Their images were published notably in L’Illustration in Paris and in the English Illustrated London News. From 1915 to 1918, architect and photographer Eugène Dhuicque led a project commissioned by the Ministry of the Sciences and the Arts to record systematically all the buildings in western Flanders that had been damaged by the conflict. Thousands of plates and autochromes were produced to show the damage, to facilitate future reconstruction or to preserve memories. For most portrait photographers, working from their own small businesses, photography was their bread and butter. However, in the cities, some of them

Léonard Misonne (1870 – 1943), Near the Mill, 1902, Fresson process, 27.8 x 37.3 cm. Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi (Collection Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles), © Léonard Misonne/Lita, 2010/SABAM Belgium.

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behaved like artists, received clients in luxurious studios, carried out meticulous work, employed personnel and enjoyed good social standing, on a par with the doctor, the schoolmaster or the local priest. Ferdinand Buyle, for example, began his career in the small town of Lokeren. It led him to Sint-Niklaas, then to settle in Brussels in 1902 and it was not long before he opened a second studio in Antwerp. Close to the Royal Family, appreciated by the bourgeoisie for the quality of his work, he was a perfectionist as much for the angle of the shot as for the finish. He was a master of composition and light. Paying careful attention to the rendering of the subject, he said that he respected the truth of photography.

Gustave Marissiaux (1872 – 1929), Nude, 1911 – 1914, Sury process,16.2 x 11.3 cm Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi (Collection Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles).

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However, some of his images look like photo-engravings, and he had no qualms about modifying the backdrop or the shape of a garment to produce a better result. In 1930, Ferdinand Buyle became Honorary President of the Union of Professional Photographers. At the other end of the scale, Norbert Ghisoland was a popular portrait artist, in the Borinage, in Frameries, not far from Cuesmes, where Vincent Van Gogh was an evangelist preacher in 1879. We are in the very heart of coal country wrote Camille Lemonnier. Here, the coal industry reigns supreme over the whole land. All its activity, all its intelligence, all its capital hangs over the pit. Norbert ought to have been a pit miner, like his father. However, his father dreamed of giving his son a different future, and Norbert was apprenticed to a photographer in Mons. In 1902 he bought his equipment, helped him to set up a shop, a darkroom and a studio. The atrium window was lovely, full of light. Norbert could then announce : “we work every day in all weather”. And so he did. He worked ceaselessly, married, hired an employee. In Frameries, a large working-class district, the people are not rich, but the ritual of photography is compulsory. Where does Ghisoland’s talent lie? His images are far from sophisticated. Of course, he is an expert in technique, setting and light. These are important but they do not explain everything. The essential lies elsewhere, in this incredible ability to gain his subjects’ trust, to understand them, to meet their regard and to reveal them to themselves in spite of the pose, the painted decor and the stereotypical accessories. He was also a chronicler of his time. He immortalised these young couples, first communicants, soldier, rope-makers, coal miners, pigeon keepers, archers, boxers, cyclists, accordionists, and so on. The portrait photographer could sometimes find himself on the edges of his profession. Charles Leirens was a free spirit who had always been interested in culture. His father and uncle were amateur photographers and members of the Belgian Photography Association, so naturally he produced a few images as a child. Music, however, was his real interest. After having studied the piano and composition, he became director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. In the 30s, he founded the Maison des Arts. There, he organised exhibitions, lectures (Le Corbusier, André Lhote), concerts (Walter Gieseking, Rudolf Serkin) and meetings which aim, commented Marc Vausort, “was to let us get to know the man after having applauded the artist”. This setting encouraged him to return to photography. Charles Leirens practised portrait photography because he was interested in “the other”. His models are artists, whom he wants people to recognise as men and women. For him, photography was a machine to help people see, a means rather than an end, a tool adapted to his research: “I could never produce a good portrait of a model for whom I felt no sympathy,“ he said. He captures the gestures, explores the faces of his contemporaries, searches for the angle that links the photographer to the subject. Between 1933 and 1965 he produced hundreds of portraits. Among those of the 30s, we encounter Paul Valéry, Colette, James Ensor, André Gide, André Malraux, Ossip Zadkine and Arthur Honegger. Let’s go back a few years and look at the amateur photographers. Many of them defined themselves as artists and they formed a significant part of the Belgian Photography Association. Created in 1874, the Association extended beyond the cities until in 1901 it numbered 750 members. These were essentially wealthy bourgeois, bankers, solicitors, doctors, magnates of trade and industry. They formed circles and clubs, held meetings, elected a president, vice-president and treasurers, admitted new members and published internal newsletters advertising their exhibitions and providing technical information. They talked about

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Pierre Dubreuil (1972 – 1944), The Grand-Place, Brussels, 1908, gelatin silver print, 24.6 x 19.9 cm. Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi (Collection Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles). All rights reserved.

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new trends, which were strongly opposed by those upholding photography’s traditions. Brussels enjoyed a powerful magnetism and there was intense interaction, for example, with the Camera Club of Vienna, the Paris and Hamburg Photo Clubs and Photo Secession. When the London Linked Ring Brotherhood was opened to foreign members, some Belgians claimed this privilege, among them Hector Colard and Alexandre, also member of L‘Effort Circle. Edouard Hannon was one of the 143 founders of the Association Belge de Photographie. Coming from a wealthy bourgeois background, he was an engineer, director of the rich Solvay firm. From 1883, he had to visit company subsidiaries in many countries. His photographs, deliberately created in documentary style and linked to social realities, show the poorest peasants deep in the heartland of Russia, young workers in Burgos, market scenes in Napoli, urban shots in the United States. But Hannon by no means disowned the pictorialist aesthetic. Along with others, he organised in 1895 the Salon de Bruxelles, aiming to „take a confident step along the new road in art“. Works like Denise and Coppélia, as well as gum bichromate landscapes were popular. On 1 February 1899, an international exhibition took place at the Berlin Royal Academy. Art critics noted Alexandre, Hannon, Misonne, Cumont, Vanderkindere and Marissiaux who, in the same year, had abandoned his Law studies to open a photography studio in Liège. Simple, barely retouched and full of light, the portraits of Gustave Marissiaux were renowned among his bourgeois clientele. He however was more concerned with his creative activity. His work, recognised in his own time and then long neglected, is exceptional, as much for its quality as for its extraordinary diversity. His Study of a young girl in 1900, in its formal simplicity and the peculiarity of the girl’s expression, which appears to question the viewer, goes far beyond the bounds of an ordinary portrait. His images are animated by the same magic vibration when he is working with nature. Here you can distinguish the influence of Emerson, whom he admired and cited in his conferences, while Constable and Corot are never far away. For the albums Venice or Jardins d’Italie, Marissiaux uses the greasy ink technique (Rawlins), and he uses it for a reason. The goal is to strike a precise chord, in the musical sense of the term, explains Marc-Emmanuel Mélon, who dedicated a perceptive work to the photographer. Like the conflict between shadow and light, his works are divided into two types. There is the softness of idyllic landscapes, faces with half-closed eyes, shadowy romanticism when he depicts the Breton countryside. Then there is an irresistible force which he transmits when he evokes the hot breath of the iron and coal industries. But Gustave Marissiaux remained a great professional. In 1904, a commission from the Union of Collieries in Liège led him to produce, in stereoscopy, a long sequence describing the work of the mine in successive chapters: The pit, The miners, The descent, Wall mining, The Hiercheuses (female miners), At the spoil heap (Le puits, Les mineurs, La descente, Les tailles, Les hiercheuses, au terril). It is an impressive collection, of high artistic quality, which is displayed in around thirty stereoscopic viewers at the Universal Exhibition at the Palace of Industry in Liège in 1905. It is fascinating to note that the care taken over the lighting for a shot of the coal sorting room is comparable to that of the Intérieur de Saint-Marc in Venice! Admired at the Universal Exhibition, but rejected by the Belgian Photography Association, which accepted neither the stereoscope nor the documentary, this work would however be widely displayed, both in Belgium and abroad, and notably at the Paris Photo-Club. From 1911, Gustave Marissiaux secretly experimented

Emile Chavepeyer (1893 – 1959), The Chat, 1930, gelatin silver print, 32.8 x 23.5 cm. Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi (Collection Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles), All rights reserved.

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with three-colour photography, a technique refined by the chemist Joseph Sury. This system was difficult to manage and would never become commercially available, but nonetheless Marissiaux managed to produce beautiful nudes, still lifes, landscapes and portraits of artists in their studios. The other great figure in Belgian photography of the early 20th century was indisputably Léonard Misonne. A mining engineer born in the heart of coal country in Gilly (Charleroi) his fragile health prevented him from practising his trade. He admired Jean-Baptiste Corot and the Barbizon painters. He also liked music, botany, zoology and the sciences. But it was to photography that he dedicated his life. He refused, however, to be satisfied with showing everyday situations, which were considered trivial. He had a deep distaste for his industrial surroundings and he rejected modernity. “Art is nature seen through a particular emotion,” he wrote in “Truth in Photography“ (Die Galerei). He expressed a taste for soft focus, rain, misty weather (“without fog, the landscape is dead”), and the “sfumato”, which blurs contours. He went further still by using a “flou-net” screen, a technique of his

Germaine Van Parys, (1893 – 1983), Albert Einstein on the quays Alongside The Schelde river, 1933, gelatin silver print, 18 x 24 cm. Collection Library of Fotomuseum Antwerpen, © Van Parys Media.

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own invention, which he commercialised. “The technique with the greatest artistic value is the one that gives the operator the greatest power over his image” he said. The pictorialist school, which tried to merge into painting, an “art majeur”, also held this opinion. The “noble” techniques and manual operations perfectly suited Misonne who, like Robert Demachy, prided himself on never producing the same proof twice. Processes using carbon, greasy ink (Rawlins) and mediobrome, which he developed himself, enabled him to perfect his compositions by rubbing out any disruptive elements. “In photographic art, light is everything” he declared, as well as “light transcends reality” and “if you do not believe that light makes a tableau, quit photography.“ Use light, and if necessary, reinvent it. He was demanding: a facade was to be repainted in a lighter colour, a clearing created, a path re-drawn by his children, the roof of his house equipped with an observatory so that he could photograph the sky. His pictures of cities, expressive, less manipulated, but rarer, are now considered the most interesting of his works (Cigarette matinale, Charleroi, for example). His writings – “My Method“ (“Ma Méthode“); “Flou-net“ (“Le flou-net“); “The Skies Drawn Down“ (“Le Ciels Rapportés“) – were published between 1914 and 1939 in Deutscher Camera Almanach, Photo-mo­der­ne, Camera (Luzern), Die Galerei, American Annual and l’Amateur photographe. Many photographers were part of a school which evolved from pictorialism – via “post-pictorialism” – to modernism, particularly in the style of Henri Remes and Emile Rombaut, two successive – and highly active – presidents of the PhotoClub of Antwerp. The first was THE editor of Licht, the first Belgian magazine in Flemish, while the second edited the manual “Artistic interpretation through photography”, widely read in Belgium and France. Jozef Emiel Borrenbergen, the administrative director of a large firm in Antwerp, was a passionate amateur photographer. He joined the fotografische Kring Iris in 1909. He was its president from 1912 to 1965, giving it a dominant position and a creative force (which would later continue under the influence of Antoon Dries). He founded the Antwerp‘s section of the Belgian Photography Association, held countless conferences and edited the Fotokunst review. His intense activity sometimes got him into delicate situations, with traditionalists strongly opposing the progressive trends within these movements. This did not stop him from developing his own work, mainly rural landscapes in a post-pictorialist style, using techniques such as bromoil. In the 20s and 30s, his art evolved towards modernism. Victor Guidalevitch, an electrotechnician trained at the University of Liège and working for Bell Telephone in Antwerp, was part of the Antwerp Photo-Club Salon, a somewhat elitist circle, from 1932. Initially influenced by Emile Rombaut and the pictorialist school – he worked with bromoil and the Color-Poudre pro­ cess, invented by Joseph Sury – he then opted for the 24/36, deliberately favouring a different aspect of daily life and a search for original points of view. Between the two World Wars, Piet Spoor, a diamond merchant in Kalmhout, Antwerp, opted, uncompromisingly, for the Nouvelle Vision school. He produced dynamic images and geometrical compositions. At the time, this was not a guarantee of success. A member of the Fotokring Iris since 1929, he pursued this route with dynamic images and geometrical compositions. However, he had little time for the disputes between ancient and modern and declared himself a dissident. Together with Robert Janssens and Frans Rombaut, he created the „Three Men‘s Club“. In 1937, in response to an anti-modernist text by Léonard Misonne, the group sent a letter in which he considered Misonne „a good advocate of a bad cause“ and concluded that: „the world moves on, so what is the use of clinging desperately to the past?“

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Pictorialist photographers are not necessarily traditionalists! By their choice of and approach to their subject, some of them clearly distance themselves from this school. In this context, we ought to mention Pierre Dubreuil, highly active in Belgium although he was French and hailed from Lille. His work is exceptional in its originality, not to mention his frequent reference to the unusual and the bizarre, the boldness of his compositions (close ups, bird’s eye views, low-angle shots, montages) and his use of light: all qualities which are evident in images like Les volants, 1901 (where some young girls are throwing a ball over an imaginary line), La Grand Place de Bruxelles, 1908 and the highly geometrical Croquet, 1932. A dominant figure in the Paris Photo-Club of 1900, elected to Linked Ring, Dubreuil corresponded with Alfred Stieglitz and exhibited work at the Gallery Albright in Buffalo. The cubist and futurist movements were a profound influence on him. In 1912, the critic Cyrille Ménard described him as “whimsical, an eccentric, say some; one of those rare photographers, say others, in France, who show ideas in their photographs and who will stand the test of time”... Controversial, radical, bruised in spirit by the Great War of 1914 – 18, Pierre Dubreuil was to be found more and more often in Belgium. Fascinated by the painter James Ensor, by the Dutch movement De Stijl, and by Belgian surrealism, in 1924 he sold his property in Lille, moved to Brussels, married Valentine Vanassche and became president of the Belgian Photography Association. A year before his death in 1943, he gave a part of his negatives and archives to the Société Gevaert collection in Antwerp, where they were later to be destroyed by bombing, during World War II. Dubreuil would probably have been forgotten had it not been for the American historian Tom Jacobson, from San Diego, who during carried out research in Belgium and Paris in the 1980s and who became interested in him while organising an exhibition at the Pompidou Centre. The upheavals caused by the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution and the major social changes shook many certainties, but we must not forget that photographers, whether pictorialists or not, are less interested in history than in the condition of the workers and in class struggles. There are however exceptions. Emile Chavepeyer, a professional working in Châtelet and Charleroi during the 20s and 30s, refused to limit himself to photographing young married couples, however happy they may have been. Curious about everything, including music and painting (René Magritte was a childhood friend of his) and a foreign member of the French Photographic Society, his aim was to transcribe his feelings for his “Black Country” and, like Fernand Léger or Germaine Krull, he expressed a fascination for heavy industry and the flamboyance of the steel plants and the machine. Although idealised, the worker is still present in his images. The exhausting labour of the docker and the obvious poverty of working families did not stop them from reaching grandeur. Skilled in the use of bromoil, Emile Chavepeyer and his brother Albert experimented in transferring bromoil onto lithographic stone. The Vooruit photographic circle, founded in Ghent in 1922, acted in the same spirit. The Circle was linked to a Socialist newspaper of the same name, which, however, published few images. Most of its members fitted into the prevalent “art photography” movement. Some of them however thought differently. Jules Beheyt was one of these: a professional who, since 1913, had photographed demonstrations in favour of universal suffrage and who was determined to raise awareness of living conditions in working-class neighbourhoods. Jozef Sterken was another such photographer. A victim of mustard gas during the First World War, he was one of the most dynamic members of Vooruit. His doctors recommended plenty of walks in the fresh air. He was interested in art, but was attracted

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Paul Nougé (1898 – 1967), Cut Lashes, from the series Subversion of Images, 1929 – 1930, gelatin silver print, 19.9 x 19.9 cm. Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi (private collection on deposit), © Paul Nougé/LITA, Bratislava, 2010/SABAM.


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by documentary making, and he knew his own working class background well. His images were renowned in Germany and the Netherlands, where the depiction of working scenes was more common, but Vooruit also sent them to Japan, Brazil and the US. The works of Stercken, points out historian Marc Van Gysegem, sometimes remind you of Rodchenko and the Soviet photography of those years. They evoke a sort of working class apology, as well as an elegy to work and productivity. However, the romantic nature of Flanders is also an indisputable presence. We have barely mentioned the photojournalists and documentary photographers occupied with social chronicling and events. The media, at the start of the century, were relatively unconcerned with the image, which they only consid-

Willy Kessels (1898 – 1974), Worldexposition, pavilion of the city of Antwerp,1930 gelatin silver print, 23 x 16.7 cm, Collection Library of Fotomuseum Antwerpen, © SOFAM.

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ered for its illustrative value. They are therefore partly responsible for the situation themselves. The images were often badly printed and generally not signed: press photographers had so little motivation! In Belgium they did not have a standing comparable to that of their French, German or Dutch colleagues. Naturally we cannot compare their images with the major works created in other countries by Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Walker Evans or Dorothea Lange... However several names are worth pointing out. In 1902, August De Winne, the editor of the newspaper Le Peuple, published in Ghent “Door arm Vlaanderen”, a work which illustrated the social situation of workers at home in the regions of Lokeren, Alost and Zele. The photographer, whose name was Lefébure, was relatively unknown. On the same topic and at the same time, a sociologically important project was carried out by Antony Neuckens. Born in 1875 in Molenbeek, a glove maker and leather cutter since the age of sixteen, Antony, as a “comrade”, set out on a journey which took him to Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway. Convinced of the need for greater solidarity between workers, once back in Belgium he returned to his studies, approached socialist organisations, signed articles in Le Peuple and was noticed by Camille Huysmans who hired him as a secretary on a documentary section on work at home, to form part of the Brussels Universal Exhibition of 1910. It was a complex task. Sanitary conditions, as well as poor wages and child labour all had to be evoked. Antony Neuckens met the so-called “free” travellers and realised that photography was the way to raise awareness of their situation. He travelled throughout the country, from north to south, from east to west, and collected thousands of images. Aesthetically powerful and profoundly human, they tell of the daily life of weavers, glove makers, cigar makers, armourers, nailers, cutlers, ironmongers, marble polishers, diamond cutters, laundresses, seamstresses, trouser makers and lacemakers. Four million people would visit the exhibition in Brussels. In 1913, it was displayed in Antwerp, along with the Ligue sociale d’acheteurs (Buyers’ social League), and in Ghent, where it was supported by the cities of Brussels and Liège. Photographers dedicated to photojournalism were rare in Belgium at the beginning of the century, and they are often forgotten because they were not credited for their images. However, we can mention Germaine Van Parys and Jacques Hersleven. The latter, although born in Rotterdam, was close to the Ixelles photographic circle from 1903. Working as a photographer in Brussels and Antwerp from the end of the First World War, Jacques Hersleven is known for his documentary reports which describe the work of the land, dying trades and religious practices. His closeness to the royal family and the photographs he took in this context made him famous. He worked with the newspaper Le Soir from 1935 to 1940. At the age of fifteen, Germaine Van Parys produced her first images using amateur equipment. In 1918, she captured the return of the royal couple to liberated Brussels, and from then on she felt a vocation to be a photo reporter. In 1922, she worked for daily papers Le Soir and La Meuse and for the Parisian review L’Illustration. In 1925 she co-founded the Association of photo reporters. Germaine Van Parys’ objective, whether photographing the royal family, celebrities, catastrophes or daily life in Brussels in the 30s, was simply to show what was there, directly, and with respect. Her images are free from artifice and special effects. Nothing is staged. Her whole art, said André Jocou, is in waiting for the crucial moment, camera at the ready in a carefully prepared setting”. To begin with, Germaine Van Parys used cumbersome equipment and paid no attention to the type of plate. When she clicked the shutter, the image had to be the right

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Piet Spoor (1897 – 1979), Stairway to Heaven,1930 – 1935, gelatin silver print, 29.4 x 23.7 cm, Collection Library of Fotomuseum Antwerpen.


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one! Sometimes her subjects – street sweepers or market gardeners at their stalls – stopped to pose. They were conscious of making history, even if only via the back door. A war correspondent in 1940, active in the underground press and then once more active in the war from 1945 – 46, she set up her own agency in 1958. Photography is just a medium. It may take many forms and fulfil different functions. However, if they are of high quality, these forms can be combined. The international photography exhibition opened in Brussels in 1932. Alongside Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray, André Kertesz and Germaine Krull were several Belgian photographers, especially Robert de Smet, Cami and Sasha Stone, Georges Champroux and Willy Kessels. In his introduction to the catalogue, P. G. Van Hecke, an art critic in Vooruit and editor of the review Variétés, emphasised that photography is a means of expression used as much to reflect reality as for artistic purposes; that its dazzling development will lead it to play a determining role in the life of society and that it is a critical weapon for analysing society, its character and its evolution. In the exhibition, formal experiences and reporting peacefully co-existed without any difficulties. An example worth noting. A witness and participant in modernity influenced by Russian constructivists and the Bauhaus school, Willy Kessels is a very special case. He was an artist of many talents, a sculptor and furniture maker working alongside painters and architects (Marcel Baugniet, Victor Bourgeois, Henry Van de Velde) and recognised above all for his photography. His portraits are sensitive, his images of architecture daring, his nudes and montages creative. For many people however, Willy Kessels is the man who, in 1933, photographed the filming of „Misère au Borinage“ (Poverty in the Borinage), an earnest film by Henri Storck and Joris Ivens, who put forward the most legitimate demands of the working class and was immediately censored. Kessels’ images are striking. They evoke those of the Farm Security Administration (USA, 1930s). But art is rarely neutral and the artist’s personality often presents contradictions. In her work on the subject in 1996, Christine De Naeyer points out that, while the thirties were a time of artistic modernity and of a number of daring moves, they were also hit by crisis and a “return to order“. Job losses and the economic slump triggered the rise of the extreme right and the formation of fanatical groups. Willy Kessels joined the Verdinaso, a Flemish nationalist movement of which a faction would collaborate with the occupying Nazis during the Second World War. Some interesting contributions are not the work of photographers: Georges Simenon was a prolific novelist. 200 books translated into 50 languages, 500 million readers, film adaptations (The Watchmaker of Saint Paul, The Widow Couderc, The Maigret films) a career in journalism, as a writer and, during the 30s, a photographer. He wanted to get closer to the people and to their experiences. His work knew no boundaries, neither geographical nor social. His images of Poland, Russia, Africa or the Maison du Peuple in Charleroi not only document the people but are spontaneous and sincere. They hit the nail on the head. Another interesting example, pointed out by Pool Andries, director of the Antwerp Photo museum, is that of René Guiette. He was a painter, a major figure in informal art, whose house and studio in Antwerp were drawn by Le Corbusier. Guiette, who was able to meet Sasha Stone, took an interest in photography from 1932 and discovered its powerful potential for his plastic research. Graphic, and not slipping into anecdote, his images of day-to-day objects, body parts and gestures whose principle meaning has been distorted, move towards symbolic abstraction and even hermetism.

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The Belgian national character, both curious and subversive, skilled at selfderision, fitted in perfectly with surrealism. Xavier Canonne dedicated a thesis to surrealism in Belgium where he emphasises the originality of Paul Nougé’s work as well as that of his collaborators René Magritte and Marcel Mariën (who turned later to photography). The Brussels surrealists were different from the Parisian group, which was much better organised for achieving its goals; they met rarely, usually in back rooms and, as remarked by Olivier Smolders, the momentum of the group relied entirely on “the fortunes of life and friendship”. Paul Nougé was a writer, poet and co-founder of the Belgian Communist Party in 1919. He worked as a biochemist. He was also a photographer because

Raoul Ubac (1910 – 1985), Battle of the Amazons,1937, gelatin silver print, 21.9 x 16.4 cm, Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi. (Collection Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles), © SABAM.

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Paul Nougé. ”Les réponses vivantes. Histoire de ne pas rire”, in Les lèvres nues. Brussels, 1956. Quoted by Olivier Smolders dans ”Paul Nougé, Ecriture et caractère à l’école de la ruse”, Labor, Brussels, 1995.

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Susan Sontag, On Photography, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. New York, 1973 / du Seuil, Paris, 1979.

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E. L. T. Mesens was the director of the Galerie L’Epoque, in 1927. The paintings of René Magritte were shown there. In 1928, he organised Nouvelles Tendances as the first international exhibition of modern photography in Brussels, (before Fotografie der Gegenwart, Essen, and Film und Foto, Stuttgart, May and July 1929).

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Éditions Kra, Paris, 1924.

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this impersonal tool, between optics and chemistry, suited him. In 1924, he met Aragon, Breton and Eluard. Was it with the latter in mind that he once wrote : ”I would like those of us whose names are starting to leave a trace, to erase it”. He published the review Correspondances in Belgium, just before the first issue of Révolution surréaliste in Paris. Like most of the tracts of the group, it distinguished itself by its allusive tone and a desire for discretion almost to the extent of anonymity. A very subtle poem by Paul Nougé characterises it: ”They looked like everybody else – They forced the lock – They replaced the lost object – They mixed the liqueurs – They sowed questions with both hands – They withdrew with modesty – Erasing their signature.” A hoaxer, an agitator and a utopian, Paul Nougé had a great influence on the group, although he scarcely talked, rarely published anything and, apart from the games he played with Magritte and his other friends, only made a few photographs. In 1929, he produced – sporadically – a set of photographs called Subversion des images (Subversion of Images) which went down as one of the great masterpieces of surrealism. Through this series, he discovered that photographic staging is one of the ways of situating poetry. He did not, however, feel obliged to indulge in aesthetics. The Cils Coupés (Cut Eyelashes) or Les Buveurs (The Drinkers) are mainly questions. “Thinking an object means examining what is essential and specific about it. Questioning it with all the precision the mind will allow. Understanding the world while transforming it: this is, no doubt, our true purpose”.1 Is surrealism linked to photography? We might suppose, with Susan Sontag in On Photography, that all photography is surrealist or, to paraphrase Man Ray, that art is not photography and photography is not art!2 Although photography is said to be objective, it is evidently not and the surrealists, like the others or more so, were merely interpreting reality. They played with it, manipulating it, turning it upside-down for their settings, using superimposed images, photomontages, photograms and other unusual techniques. However, although most of the pictures considered as surrealist are dreamlike, disconcerting, disturbing or outrageous, their prime function is to highlight social situations, to disconcert the establishment, to open the debate, even if only to declare it closed immediately. When led by a free spirit, surrealism is a formidable weapon, a war cry against conventions. The amateur photographs showing René Magritte, Paul Nougé, Louis Scutenaire, Paul Colinet fooling around pretending to be retarded soldiers are not art. They are committed, political, antimilitarist gestures, like the shots of strong hands gripping knuckledusters (comme ils l‘entendent et comme nous l‘entendons) by Edouard Léon Théodore Mesens and Robert de Smet,, published in Farewell to Marie (L’adieu à Marie) in 1927. Robert de Smet, close to Norine and P.G. Van Hecke, the publishers of the magazine Variétés which paid close attention to surrealism, took photographs of intellectuals and artists, among which choreographer Akarova. He also exhibited work in Nouvelles Tendances3, presented by Edouard Léon Théodore Mesens, along with Germaine Krull, Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Just as unclassifiable as de Smet, Mesens has been called “the neglected alchemist of surrealism“. A poet, collagist, photographer, publisher and art dealer, he was first and foremost an avant-garde musician who took part in the Dada adventure. Was Raoul Ubac a painter, a sculptor or a photographer? Aged nineteen, in his hometown of Malmédy in eastern Belgium, he discovered Manifeste du Surréalisme d’André Breton4. It was a revelation. During a trip to Dalmatia in 1932, he shot pictures of stones, a subject which he was to pursue for ten years. In 1933, he went to Paris, attended the Academies and met Raoul Hausmann and Man Ray,

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René Magritte (1898 – 1967), Love, portfolio The Fidelity of Images, Le Perreux-sur-Marne, 1928, gelatin silver print, 11.1 x 7.3 cm, Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi (Collection of Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles).

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Xavier Canonne. Le surréalisme en Belgique 1924 – 2000, Fonds Mercator – Ville de Mons. 2007.

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under whose influence he began to torture his photographs: double exposures, photomontages, burnings, exposure to sunlight and lithification! In 1936, he started his Penthésilées series: a multiplied female body, evoking ancient and unlikely battles. There are so many ways to see, and so few ways to look, said Marcel G. Lefrancq, a surrealist, among other things. It is true that, since adolescence, he had been interested in surrealism along with prehistory, folklore and photo­ graphy. Alongside his business studies, he met up with students at the Academy of Fine Arts and expressed himself through collage, automatic writing where he summoned up the bizarre, eroticism and anticlericalism. In his photographs, he portrayed images in the form of an unsolvable equation, like his Law of Coincidences, or his perspectives which turn Mons into a dream world by day and, after dark, into a disturbingly dangerous place where he trapped his friends. He was passionate about architecture and discovered architectural modernity at the Brussels international exhibition in 1935, thanks to the Italian pavilion in particular. From 1932, the climate of protest and quasi-insurrectionary social struggles in the Hainaut province inspired intellectuals and artists. A surrealist group was founded under the explicit name Rupture, which implied an opposition to capitalism and to the gentrification of traditional left-wing parties. Marcel Lefrancq joined the movement with conviction, led actions supporting the Spanish Republic and became concerned about the rise of Fascism in the West, made creative images questioning a society in crisis. He participated in the (short-lived) Mauvais Temps review which filled André Breton with enthusiasm. Breton commented that “it would be very difficult for me not to agree” and that “the time has come to speak out.” But lets return to Magritte. It may be a surprise to find here René Magritte as a photographer. It was with undisguised pleasure that he shot thousands of pictures of his friends posing in creative and unusual scenarios. They were amateur photographs which he did not take very seriously and never even enlarged. They were to feed his imagination and his sharp glance would then process them as a tool for research. They served as a substrate for numerous paintings. Since he appears himself in certain images, we could also ask to whom they should be attributed. Nougé, perhaps? Or someone else? Does it really matter? Wasn’t this movement really about collective invention? With their signifying images, the surrealists questioned our relationship to art and, more importantly, our perception of the world. This confirms that “experience is within range of a glance, for who dares to see... one can experience by looking, if one dares to see”. In the words of Paul Nougé in his Conference of Charleroi (La Conférence de Charleroi) in 1929, the main aim of paintings, photographs, poems is to “invent the fundamental feelings comparable, in strength, to hatred and love”.5 Translated from Belgian to English by Thomas Wilhelm, Alžbeta Karasová

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Antoon Dries (1910 – 2005), Holiday, 1939, gelatin silver print, 29.4 x 37.2 cm, Collection Library of Fotomuseum Antwerpen.

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Biographical Notes:

Alexandre (Albert Edouard Drains) (Paris, 1855 – 1925) moved to Brussels in 1875 and was a member of the Brussels section of the ABP (Association Belge de Photographie) from 1887 to 1914 and of Linked Ring from 1893 to 1908. He was a portrait photographer, landscape photographer, documentary maker and artist and though he planned to shoot a film in the Congo, he had to content himself with filming the “Congolese Village” at the 1897 Tervueren exhibition in Brussels. Die Kunst in der Photographie. Ed. Franz Goerke/Julius Becker, Berlin, 1897. Dujardin Laetitia-Marie, Alexandre, aperçu biographique d‘une oeuvre méconnue, The Free University of Brussels, 2002. Antony, Maurice (Antony of Ypres) (Ypres, 1883 – 1963) entered the Antony-Permeke family business in 1899 and his brother Robert joined him in 1901. During World War I, they documented the destruction of the region for newspapers both in Belgium and abroad. From 1940 to 1946, in London, they shot reportage on Belgians working to clear the ruins. He was awarded prizes at the Universal Exhibition of Liège in 1905 and in Antwerp in 1930. Antony d‘Ypres, Stad Ieper, 1987 Maurice & Robert Antony, “Ooggetuigen”, Stad Oostende, 1998. Borrenbergen, Jozef Emiel (Borgerhout, 1884 – 1966) was initially strongly attached to pictorialist techniques and the Flanders countryside (like Henri Remes and Emile Rombaut) but later

turned to modernism. In 1909, he joined the Iris photography circle and contributed to its renown. The Dutch photographic review, Fotokunst, which he edited in 1924, was released in a French version four years later. The publication l‘Amateur photographe (The Amateur Photographer) contains several pages relating the life of the ABP and they formed the basis of the Bulletin de l‘Association belge de Photographie (Newsletter of the Belgian Photography Association). Borrenbergen Jozef Emiel, Schnegg S.A., Rêmes Henri, Le Miroir de la Belgique, N.E.A., Brussels, Paris, 1928. Andries Pool, Jozef Emiel Borrenbergen, fotograaf 1884 – 1966, Museum voor Fotografie, Antwerp, 1984.

Buyle, Ferdinand (Lokeren, 1872 – 1949) was a portrait photographer, working first in Lokeren and then in Sint-Niklass and he moved to Brussels in 1902. In the same year he opened a subsidiary in Antwerp. Being a perfectionist, he attached great importance not only to technique but also to respect for the subject and he passed on these ideas to his assistants and apprentices. Breyer, Albert (Berlin, 1812 – 1876) was a medical student at the University of Liège in 1839 which led him to create photographs on paper, using a negative/positive system. He was committed to social action and became a doctor in Brussels. Joseph Steven F. & Tristan Schwilden, Un cadeau à l‘Europe, naissance de la photographie en Belgique, Crédit communal, Brussels 1989.

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Chavepeyer, Emile (Châtelet, 1893 – 1959) was initially a house painter but became interested in photography and perfected his skills in Brussels and Paris before opening a portrait studio in Châtelet with his brother Albert, a painter and graphic designer, in 1922. As a childhood friend of René Magritte, he played an active role in artistic movements and developed his own creative photographic style, combining a modernist viewpoint with techniques such as the transfer of bromoil onto lithographic stone. Mayeur Catherine, Emile Chavepeyer 1893 – 1959, Charleroi Museum of Photography, 1987. Claine, Evrard-Guillaume (Marche, 1811 – 1869) was journalist and became interested in photography in 1847, using the negative-positive process to photograph architecture. He compiled a collection of shots of the country’s most important civil and religious monuments for the Ministry of the Interior. Joseph Steven F. & Tristan Schwilden, A l‘aube de la photographie en Belgique, Guillaume Claine et son cercle, Crédit communal, Brussels, 1991. Colard, Hector (Brussels, 1851 – 1923) was a member of the Brussels section of the ABP until 1914 as well as the Linked Ring and the Paris Photo Club. He translated the works of Henry Peach Robinson and Alfred Horsley Hinton into French. His own photographic output is divided into documentary works and highly manipulated pictorialism and he


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edited the ABP Bulletin from 1882 to 1892. De Smet, Robert (Ghent, 1906 – ?) came from the same family as the painters Léon and Gustave de Smet and was close to the Flemish intellectual elite. Initially working in Ghent, he subsequently moved into a studio on the prosperous Avenue Louise in Brussels in 1926. His celebrity portraits and images for the fashion designer Norine or the choreographer Akarova were published in the review Variétés. Dhuicque, Eugène (1877 – 1955) was a teacher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and served as president of the Central Society of Architecture in Belgium and he worked as an architect on the restoration of Notre Dame, Paris. From 1915 to 1918, he was sent by the Minister of Sciences and the Arts on a photographic assignment to safeguard cultural heritage in western Flanders, a zone devastated by the war. 15 / 18, het Verwoeste Gewest. Mission Dhuicque, Stichting Monumenten en Landschapzoeg vzw, Bruges, 1985. Dubreuil, Pierre (Lille, 1872 – 1944) was a member of the Lille photographic society from 1891 to 1899 and played an active role in Brussels and in the Paris Photo Club and was elected to Linked Ring in 1903. Alfred Stieglitz selected some of his works (including the Grand Place de Bruxelles) for an exhibition of pictorialist photography in Buffalo (New York) in 1910. He lived in Brussels after World War I and became the voice

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of the modernists. Retrospectives were exhibited in 1935 by the Royal Photographic Society, London, and from 1987 to 1988 at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Jacobsen Tom, Sayag Alain, Pierre Dubreuil. Photographies 1896 – 1935, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris/ Dubroni Press, San Diego, 1987.

Fierlants, Edmond (Brussels, 1819 – 1869) was initiated into the world of photography by Hippolyte Bayard in Paris in 1850 and was one of the founders of the French photographic society in 1854. Returning to Brussels in 1858, his campaign to photograph works of painted art was backed by the government. In Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven, he later undertook projects focusing on architecture. Joseph Steven F. & Tristan Schwilden: Edmond Fierlants, photographies d‘art et d‘architecture, Crédit communal, Brussels, 1988. Gevaert, Lieven (Antwerp, 1865 – 1935) was initially a portrait photographer and member of the ABP from 1891 to 1914 and he began manufacturing photographic paper in 1890. In 1894, he founded the firm Lieven Gevaert which expanded worldwide. Lieven Gevaert, de mens en zijn werk, Davidsfonds, Leuven, 1955. Verpoorten Johan, Lieven Gevaert, De Sikkel, Antwerp, 1968. Lieven Gevaert, Herdenking van de 50e verjaardag van zijn overlijden, Museum voor Fotografie, Antwerp, 1994. Janssens Wilhelm, Roosens Laurent, Lieven Gevaert: momenten uit zijn

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leven, Stichting Mens en Kultuur, Ghent, 1994. Ghémar, Louis (Lannoy, 1819 – 1869) moved to Brussels in 1836 and worked as an illustrator and lithographic artist on the satirical review Charivari. He discovered photography in 1850 in Edinburgh and opened studios first in Antwerp and then Brussels and specialized in the reproduction of works of art. He is famous for his portraits of the 80 guests at the banquet presented in honour of Victor Hugo in exile in Brussels by the publishers Lacroix and Verboeckhoven and for his images of the funeral ceremonies of King Leopold I and the accession of Leopold II. Sartorius Francis, Despy-Meyer Andrée, Trousson Raymond, Les éditeurs belges de Victor Hugo et le Banquet des “Misérables”, Crédit Communal, Brussels, 1986. Ghisoland, Norbert (La Bouverie, 1978 – 1939) was an apprentice to Gallade in Mons from 1897 to 1900 and then set up a studio at Frameries and worked there for over 30 years. Raynaud Patrick, Norbert Ghisoland, Photographies 1910 – 1930, Jacques Damase, Paris, 1977. Busine Laurent, “Des photographies pas trop lointaines et pourtant déjà surannées”, in Henri Evenepoel et Norbert Ghisoland, Photographies d‘enfants, Culture et Loisirs, Frameries, 1979. Balthazar André, Norbert Ghisoland, Photo Poche, Delpire / Centre National de la Photographie. Paris, 1991.


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D’Hooghe Alain, Norbert Ghisoland, La Lettre volée / coll. Vu d’Ici. Brussels, 2002.

Guidalevitch, Victor (Simféropol, 1892 – 1962) was a civil engineer and member of the Antwerp Photo Club and he defied the usual stereotypes as in the 1930s he was a modernist who was as comfortable using bromide as bromoil or the Color-Poudre technique invented by the chemist Joseph Sury. He took part in numerous salons, including the ABP exhibitions in Antwerp, Brussels and Charleroi. Guiette, René (Antwerp, 1893 – 1976) was a painter from Antwerp who was involved in Art Informel (his house and workshop were designed by the architect Le Corbusier) and in 1932 he became interested in photography which for him was both a form of expression in itself and a source of inspiration for his painting. Pool Andries’ study of Guiette in 1987 brought him widespread recognition. Andries Pool, Schraenen Guy, René Guiette, śuvre photographique, Provinciaal Museum voor Fotografie Antwerp, 1987. De Kerchove D‘Ousselghem Manuela, Goyens de Heusch Serge, René Guiette, Mercatorfonds, Antwerp, 1991. Hannon, Edouard (Ixelles, 1853 – 1931) was an engineer and then director of Solvay S.A who took portraits using a pictorialist approach and also produced documentary reportage on his travels to Russia, Italy, Spain and the United States. His house in Brussels,

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built in 1904 by the architect Brunfaut, today houses the photographic space Contretype. De Keyser, Gilbert, Godefroid JeanLouis, Rétrospective Edouard Hannon, Contretype, Brussels, 1986.

Hersleven, Jacques (Rotterdam, 1880 – 1967) was born in the Netherlands but he worked predominantly in Belgium. He was a member of the photographic circle of Ixelles from 1903 and was professionally active in Brussels and Antwerp from the end of World War I and is known for his documentary reportage on the world of work. He worked with the newspaper Le Soir from 1935 to 1940. He was close to the royal family, which contributed to his renown. Kessels, Willy (Dendermonde, 1898 – 1974) studied architecture and fine arts in Ghent and Sint-Truiden and took an interest in the avant garde. An architectural draughtsman, he turned first to interior design and then from 1926 to photography: architecture, industry, portraits, nudes, creative editing and cinema-set photography in 1933 for Henri Storck and Joris Ivens’ socially-aware film “Misère au Borinage” (poverty in the Borinage area). He joined the Verdinaso, a Flemish nationalist movement, a faction of which collaborated with the occupying Nazis during World War II. Kessels Willy, Guislain Albert, Découverte de Bruxelles, L‘Eglantine, Brussels 1930. Leplus Françoise, Paviot Alain, Willy Kessels, Paris, 1990.

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de Naeyer Christine, Willy Kessels, Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi. Coessens Piet, Eelbode Eric, Snauwaert Dirk, Amnesie, Responsabilité et collaboration, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1997.

Lefrancq, Marcel-G. (Mons, 1916 – 1974) studied business sciences and was interested in art, prehistory, folklore, architecture and photography of his town, friends and family. His social and political background – support for the Spanish Republic in 1936 and anti-Fascism – led him towards the Surrealist movement in Mons and La Louviere. He contributed to the review Mauvais Temps and the group Rupture. His collages and photographs evoke the strange, eroticism, and anticlericalism. In May 1940, he moved to Dordogne where he worked with Abbé Breuil, the great prehistorian, and became involved in the anti-Nazi Resistance movement. Lefrancq Marcel-G., Aux mains de la Lumière, de Haute Nuit, Mons, 1948. Despinoy G., Lefrancq Michel, Simon Armand, Marcel-G. Lefrancq, Salle StGeorges, Mons, 1994. Canonne Xavier, Lefrancq Michel:,Marcel-G. Lefrancq, aux mains de la lumière, Museum of Photography. Charleroi, 2003. Canonne Xavier, Surréalisme en Belgique 1924 – 2000, Fonds Mercator / Ville de Mons, 2007. Leirens, Charles (Ghent, 1888 – 1963)studied harmony and composition at the Ghent Royal Conservatoire and perfected his skills


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in Brussels. He was Director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels from 1928 and founded the Maison d’Art in 1933 where he organised concerts and exhibitions and created portraits of the artists. From 1936 to 1940, he took photographs in Italy, France and Germany and in 1938 he edited the International Review of Music. He moved to New York in 1940 where he worked for the press and taught musicology and photography at the New School for Social Research from 1942 to 1951 but fleeing McCarthyism, he returned to Europe. 20 portraits d‘artistes, portfolio. Ed. by Connaissance, Brussels, 1936. Leirens Virginia, Auquier Yves, Hellens Frans, Hasaerts Paul, Charles Leirens, 1888 – 1963, Monique Adam, Brussels, 1978. Vausort Marc, Charles Leirens, L‘Intelligence du Regard, Charleroi Museum of Photography, 1991.

Magritte, René (Lessines, 1898 – 1967) attended the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts in 1918 and was influenced by Pierre-Louis Flouquet, Victor Servranckx and Giorgio de Chirico. He met E.L.T. Mesens and founded the review Śsophage. He and Camille Goemans, Paul Nougé and André Souris formed the heart of the Surrealist group in Brussels. Essentially a painter, Magritte however also used photography, placing his friends and family in unusual situations or to set a project. In 1929, in La révolution surréaliste (the Surrealist Revolution), he published a photo montage (a group with Dali, Miro, Bunuel, Eluard, and Goemans).

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Scutenaire Louis, La Fidélité des Images. René Magritte, le cinématographe et la photographie, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels, 1976. Sterckx Pierre, René Magritte, photographs, Pace/McGill Gallery, New York, 1990. La Fidélité des Images. René Magritte, le cinématographe et la photographie, CGRI, Brussels, 1997. Wauters Anne, Photographies, de la poétique de l‘image à la subversion du réel, in Magritte en compagnie, Le Botanique, Brussels, 1997. Nougé Paul, René Magritte in extensor, Ed. Didier Devillez, Brussels, 1997. Roegiers Patrick, Magritte et la Photographie, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 2005. Canonne Xavier, Surréalisme en Belgique 1924 – 2000, Fonds Mercator/ Ville de Mons, 2007.

Massart, Jean (Etterbeek, 1865 – 1925) was a member of the Royal Commission for Monuments and Sites and Director of the Botanical Gardens in 1902 and Director of the Botanical Institute in 1905 and used photography to help protect nature. Pour la Protection de la Nature en Belgique, Brussels, 1912. Jean Massart, Pour la Protection de la Nature, Agfa-Gevaert N. V., Mortsel, 1985. Marissiaux, Gustave (Marles, 1872 – 1929) moved to Liège in 1893 to study law but soon turned to photography, becoming a member of

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the ABP in 1894. In 1895, he presented a paper on l’Art et la Photographie (Art and Photography) and in 1899 opened a portrait photography studio. His works formed part of the pictorialist movement. In 1904 however, he produced reportage consisting of 450 stereoscopic slides on life in the collieries. This reportage was presented at the Universal Exhibition in Liège in 1905. In 1908, he published Visions d‘artiste, a portfolio of 30 photogravures (1899-1908) and Jardins d‘Italie in 1916. Mélon Marc-Emmanuel, Gustave Marissiaux, la possibilité de l’art, Museum of Photography, Charleroi, 1997.

Mesens, Edouard Léon Théodore (E.L.T. Mesens) (Brussels, 1903 – 1971) studied at the Brussels Conservatoire. Passionate about the musical avantgarde, he played violin and piano, composed music, publishing his first work at the age of fifteen and was influenced by Erik Satie. Born to a Flemish father and a Francophone mother, he moved confidently in both the Latin and Germanic cultures of his country. He was one of the founders of the Brussels Surrealist group and was an editor, picture seller and organiser of exhibitions, as well as a poet, photographer, collage and rayograph artist. Geurt-Krauss Christiane, E.L.T. Mesens, L‘Alchimiste méconnu du Surréalisme, Labor, Brussels, 1998. Canonne Xavier, Surréalisme en Belgique 1924 – 2000, Fonds Mercator/ Ville de Mons, 2007.


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Misonne, Léonard (Gilly, 1870 – 1943) was a mining engineer but spent all his time on photography and as a member of the Brussels section of the ABP joined the pictorialist movement, using the Fresson carbon process and the oil process which he learned in Paris under Constant Puyo. He was invited to the London Salon of Photography in 1910 and to the French Photographic Society in 1912. He presented his own exhibition at the Camera Club of New York in 1922. In the 1930s and 1940s he used the mediobrome technique, a process he invented himself. Special edition of Die Kunst in der Photographie, Halle, 1908. Duvivier Charles, Léonard Misonne, son oeuvre, sa method, Devaivre, Brussels, 1937. Debanterlé René, Mélon MarcEmmanuel, Polain Dominique, Autour de Léonard Misonne, Museum of Photography, Charleroi, 1990. Andries Pool, Auquier Yves, La couleur du temps, Photographies de Léonard Misonne, Centre national de la Photographie, Paris, 1991. Mélon Marc-Emmanuel, Canonne Xavier, Rousseau Christelle, Vausort Marc, Debanterlé René, Léonard Misonne. En passant..., Museum of Photography. Charleroi, 2004. Neuckens, Antony (Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, 1875 – 1948) followed in his father’s footsteps at the age of 12 as a glove cutter and plied this trade for several years before embarking on a tour of Europe as a “companion”. There, he saw the social realities of his time, formed relationships with “cottage industry” workers at home, and photographed them systematically, becoming involved in workers’ rights and organising several exhibitions. Askenasi-Neuckens, Anne, and Galle,

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Hubert, Les derniers ouvriers libres, le travail à domicile en Belgique, Luc Pire, Brussels, 2000. Nougé, Paul (Brussels, 1895 – 1967) was a Surrealist thinker, poet, photographer, co-founder of the Belgian Communist party and biochemist from 1919 to 1953. While he met Breton, Aragon and Eluard, it was Xavier Canonne who highlighted his originality, like that of Magritte and Marcel Mariën, or that of the tracts of Correspondance. But Colinet, Magritte, Scutenaire and Nougé, acting as clowns in a photograph: is that art, is it strategy, or is it a political stance? In 1929 and 1930, Nougé produced Subversion des images, a collection published in 1968. Smolders Olivier, Paul Nougé, écriture et caractère à l‘école de la ruse, Labor, Brussels, 1995. de Naeyer Christine, Paul Nougé et la photographie, Didier Devillez Éditeur, Brussels, 1995. Quaghebeur Marc, Outers Jean-Luc, Verheggen Jean-Pierre, Paul Nougé, quelques bribes, Didier Devillez Éditeur, Brussels, 1995. Canonne Xavier, Surréalisme en Belgique 1924 – 2000, Fonds Mercator/ Ville de Mons, 2007. Remes, Henri (Antwerp, 1873 – 1944) published in 1902 the first photography review in Dutch, Licht, for amateur photographers and in 1903 he joined the Antwerp Photo Club, of which he was president from 1908 to 1911. He is recognised for his still lifes and his landscapes, as well as for his use of bromoil in large format. Rombaut, Emile (Antwerp, 1886 – 1935) was a dynamic member of the Antwerp Photo Club from 1904 and

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became its president in 1911 after Henri Remes. A staunch defender of the oil impression, gum and bromoil processes, he was a modernist tempered by a conservative outlook. In 1935, he organised an exhibition of Belgian pictorialists at the French Photographic Society in Paris. Rombaut Emile, L‘Interprétation artistique en Photographie, Photographie moderne, Brussels, 1924.

Simenon, Georges (Liège, 1903 – 1989) was marked by the Great War and the humiliating charity of the rich and was a journalist, writer (author of 200 books translated into 50 languages) and man of images. In 1931, together with Germaine Krull, he published a photographic novel, La folle d’Itteville. From 1930 to 1935, he produced thousands of sensitive, creative photographs on his travels to Africa, Eastern Europe and Central America which became a source of inspiration for his literary works. Assouline Pierre, Dubois Jacques, Lacassin Francis et Al, Simenon, L‘Homme..., Complexe, Brussels, 1993. Assouline Pierre, Simenon, Gallimard, 1996. Vercheval-Vervoort Jeanne, Bertrand Alain, Les photographies de Simenon, Museum of Photography, Charleroi. 1999. Bonmariage Freddy, Simenon, écrivain photographe, La Renaissance du Livre, Brussels. 2006. Sterken, Jozef (1895 – ?) fell victim to mustard gas in World War I and during his convalescence photographed nature and, in 1920, won the City of Ghent photography competition. A member of the Vooruit Photo Club and contributor to the magazine of the same name, he practised both art photography and documentary


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photography where he paid tribute to the world of work. Although the romantic nature of Flanders is present in his work, Sterken’s pictures recall Rodchenko and Soviet photography. Van Gysegem Mark, Fotografie in OostVlaanderen, Ghent, 1992.

Sury, Joseph (Chimay, 1886 – 1944) was a chemist working in Antwerp who studied at the Brussels Academy. A pictorialist photographer and pioneer of colour photography, he invented the Colour process (using powder) with which Gustave Marissiaux successfully experimented in 1913 but whose spread was halted by the war until the 1920s. Ubac, Raoul (Köln, 1910 – 1985) spent his youth in Malmédy where at the age of 19 he discovered the Surrealist Manifesto. He moved to Paris, studied painting and sculpture in the academies, met Man Ray and discovered photography in 1933. He experimented with the techniques of brûlage and solarisation and in 1934, under the pseudonym Michelet, published Actuation poétique, a collection of poems and photographs with Camille Bryen. He accompanied Eluard and Breton in the Minotaure and René Magritte in L‘Invention collective in 1940. Greff Jean-Pierre, Raoul Ubac, photographies, peintures, sculptures...., Le Botanique, Brussels, 1987. Bouqueret Christian, Raoul Ubac, Bouqueret-Lebon, Paris, 1995.

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joined the daily newspaper Le Soir in 1922 and worked for La Meuse (Liège) and L’Illustration (Paris). At the launch of the National Association of Photographic Reporters, she was its Vice-President. She photographed the first Brussels-Congo flight, Lindbergh land in Brussels and Piccard in his stratospheric balloon. In 1939, she met Einstein on the docks of the port of Antwerp, next to the ship which was to take him to the USA. She was a war correspondent in 1940 and in 1958 set up her own press agency. de Keyser Eugénie: Germaine Van Parys, Pas perdus dans Bruxelles, Monique Adam, Brussels, 1979. Adriaenssen Agnès, Persfotografe Germaine Van Parijs, zestig jaar geschiedenis, Gazet van Antwerpen, 10.1.1981. Van Gysegem Marc, “Photographie sociale et photojournalisme”, in Pour une Histoire de la Photographie en Belgique, Museum of Photography, Charleroi, 1993. Celis Karen, “Entre-deux, een confrontatie tussen hedendaagse historiche vrouwelijke fotografie” in België en Nederland, collaborative work, Museum voor Fotografie, Antwerp, 1999. Vercheval-Vervoort Jeanne, Des Femmes dans l’Histoire, En Belgique depuis 1830, collaborative work. Ed. Luc Pire, Brussels, 2007.

Van Parys, Germaine (Eberg) (Brussels, 1893 – 1983) began taking photographs at the age of 15 but discovered her vocation as a photojournalist when she photographed the royal couple in liberated Brussels in 1918. She

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Photographers Arning, Eduard

Höch, Hannah

Perscheid, Nicola

Bayer, Herbert

Hoffmann, Heinrich

Peterhans, Walter

Consemüller, Erich

Hofmeister, Oscar

Renger-Patzsch, Albert

Dührkoop, Rudolph

Hofmeister Theodor

Retzlaff, Erich

Erfurth, Hugo

Lendvai-Dircksen, Erna

Salomon, Erich

Eugene, Frank

Lerski, Helmar

Sander, August

Graeff, Werner

Man, Felix H.

Stone, Sasha

Hausmann, Raoul

Moholy, Lucia

Umbo

Heartfield, John

Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo

Hilsdorf, Jacob

Munkácsi, Martin

Th e H i s to r y o f G e r m a ny P ho to g r a ph y Ivo Kranzfelder

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The Histor y of Germany Pho togr aphy A history of photography in Germany from 1900 to 1938 clearly covers a time period marked by far reaching historical changes: the German Empire, the First World War, the Weimar Republic and Hitler’s so-called Machtergreifung (seizure of power) a term which, to put it mildly, is not uncontroversial, all form part of this period. Historians speak of the 20th century as ‘the short 20th century’ (Eric Hobsbawm) and consider it as having started in 1914 and as having ended in 1989. Even in the short period from 1900 to 1938, we are confronted with the redrawing of borders and even with the complete transformation of certain forms of government. This same period also saw the waging of the most brutal war ever, and the collapse of the world of the 19th century. The German Empire or Reich, was founded in 1871 and lasted until the end of the Second World War in 1945. Publicist and historian Sebastian Haffner sees its history as being marked by three turning points: 1890 with the resignation of Bismarck, the empire’s founder, 1918 with the defeat in the First World War and 1933, with the coming to power of Adolf Hitler. Germany became a different place in each of these four periods.1 Similarly, one could also speak of three different phases in the perception of reality or in its interpretation through photography during this period. Even though generalisations unavoidably tend to over-simplification, it could be said that fine art photography prior to 1914 presented a rosily idyllic counterpoint to the realities of society at the time. After the shock and the catastrophe of the First World War however, the photography of the Weimar Republic represented a new departure, with its very objective, very different take on reality. As for the heavily ideological blood and soil photography after 1933, it draws in some respects on the harmlessly idyllic imagery of fine art photography prior to 1914 while at the same time making clever use of the innovations of the avant-garde of the Weimar Republic.

The amateur movement and fine art photography prior to 1914

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Sebastian Haffner, Von Bismarck zu Hitler, Ein Rückblick, Knaur, München, 1989. p. 9 – 10.

2

Werner Sombart, Die deutsche Volkswirtschaft im 19. Jahrhundert, Georg Bondi, Berlin, 1913, p. 86.

From an art historical or from an aesthetic point of view, the last third of the nineteenth century in Germany was characterised by floridly decorative styles as well as by would-be respectable, genuinely conservative styles which were no doubt a reaction to the recently attained national unity. The period after the foundation of the Empire is known as the Gründerzeit (Founding Epoch) and not without reason. Some of the painters who marked this period were Hans Makart, Franz von Lenbach, Franz von Defregger and Eduard Grützner. Society was changing in fundamental ways during this time due to the industrial revolution. There was mass immigration from the countryside to the cities and the agrarian state became an industrial state. From an economic point of view, the two decades from the mid 1870s to the mid 1890s passed “without enthusiasm, without lyrical verve, without any speculative euphoria”2. From about 1895 however, a remarkable economic upturn set in, from which only the agricul-

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tural sector did not benefit. According to Sombart the reason for the upturn was the technological developments associated with the use of electricity in all areas of life: in factories, in public life and in households. The whole economy benefited from this impetus and the number of new listings on the share-market grew dramatically.3 In addition to this, the population of Germany more than doubled during the 19th century, from about 25 million in 1800 to about 55 million 100 years later. The beginning of the Reich saw the foundation of the first mass political party, the conservative Zentrum Party. The Social Democrats, then still revolutionaries, also grew strong during this period. Bismarck fought both of them doggedly. He fought the so-called cultural war against the catholic Zentrum party in the 1870s and he fought the Social Democrats by passing the Sozialistengesetz in 1878 (‘a law against the pursuit of social democracy which is a menace to the common good’). The 1880s and the 1890s saw the birth of the first professional associations and, more or less at the same time, modern unions. These developments were accompanied by the emergence of large, educated, upper and middle classes and of a large proletariat. This industrialisation and all its consequences elicited

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Von 92 im Jahr 1894 auf 364 im Jahr 1899. Sombart, op. cit., p. 88.

Eduard Arning (1855 – 1936), Metallurgical Works, 1900, multi-colored rubber. 65,9 x 91.3 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg.

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Ulrich Keller, „Modell Malerei: Die kunstfotografische Bewegung um 1900“, in Deutsche Fotografie. Macht eines Mediums 1870 – 1970, exhibition catalogue, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, DuMont, Köln, 1997, p. 31 – 40, esp. p. 33.

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a reaction which began in England and gradually spilled over into Germany under the guise of an aesthetic reform movement which sought to reconcile art with life and which assigned a specific role to the amateur. The pioneering period of aesthetic and technical achievements in commercial photography had ended. There were no new developments in this area of the order of the stereotyping process for the production of portraits. The new discoveries that were made, such as the dry gelatine process – that is to say the ready-to-use negative – and film rolls, which were marketed from 1888 by Kodak complete with camera box (‘You push the button, we do the rest’), enabled the beginning of mass photography and the emergence of the amateur photographer. From a historical point of view this was, economically and technically, the logical next step. The first amateur photography associations emerged towards the end of the 1880s. The largest and most influential was founded in Hamburg in 1891. Alfred Lichtwark, the director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle had all these factors in mind when he came out in support of amateur photography and made the Kunsthalle available for exhibitions by the amateur photographers’ associations. The first of these exhibitions took place in 1893 and comprised 6000 exhibits. However, it did not take long for this broadly based amateur movement to develop into a more elitist movement with an international focus. There are two main reasons for this. One is cost: admission fees, membership fees, and equipment costs were not insignificant. In 1905, even the relatively cheap Kodak rollfilm camera cost 50 Goldmark. The other reason was the focus on fine art photography as distinct from the taking of happy snaps, on effects which the specialised publications would characterise as ‘pictorial’ or ‘reminiscent of a painting’. In order to achieve the latter effect, people were encouraged to turn to the works of the old masters. The production of true to detail, well-focused images, which is the natural strength of the photographic medium, was rejected in favour of the hazy look of the painted image. “True to detail depictions of flocks of sheep and farmers were derided by the defenders of the painting style of photography, and blurred images were celebrated as art: it had become as simple as that.”4 In other words one tried to produce photographic images using elaborate, nonsilver printing methods such as offset printing and pigment processes which produced a painting-like effect, but were easier to produce than a real painting. Thus, people were to an extent working in a manner that was at odds with their medium and its inherent characteristics. The cost factor meant that only the ten thousand wealthiest people could afford such an activity or, to be more precise, such a hobby: hardly any of the people who could afford this activity needed to work. These are the words, pronounced with no small measure of pride, of the German-American fine art photography critic and theorist, Sadakichi Hartmann. This elitist circle formed a world-wide network: the Hamburgers, who operated under the aegis of publicist and exhibition organiser Ernst Juhl Sammler, had contact with the Wiener Camera-Club, the Linked Ring in England, the Photo-Club de Paris and of course with Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession in New York. The exhibitions of the amateur movements were at first organised on a regional basis but became increasingly international and elitist as time went on. This is explained by the fact that the increasingly international focus led to fewer and fewer amateurs active at a regional level having the opportunity to participate. The 6000 exhibits at the first exhibition in Hamburg had shrunk to just a few hundred ten years later.

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Frank Eugene (1865 – 1936), Rebeckah, 1901, photogravure, 17.3 x 12.3 cm, Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, München.

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Sadakichi Hartmann, „The Solitary Horseman“, in Camera Work, No. 7, 1904, p. 17. quoted by Ulrich Pohlmann, in „Der Traum von Schönheit – das Wahre ist schön, das Schöne wahr. Fotografie und Symbolismus 1890 – 1914“, in Fotogeschichte, Beiträge zur Geschichte und Ästhetik der Fotografie, Marburg, Vol. 58, 1995, p. 3 – 26, esp. p. 5.

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Only one German fine art photograph found its way into the temple of fine art photography that was the collection of Alfred Stieglitz, namely The Solitary Horseman (1904) by the brothers Oskar und Theodor Hofmeister. Hartmann saw in this image a representation of fine art photographers par excellence. “They are also solitary horsemen, treated with indifference as they are for the present by the profession and denounced by the majority of artists.”5 That was more wishful thinking that anything else because the fine art photography movement was barely integrated into the broader artistic scene. Beyond that, there was a rapid decease in activity. There were only two more exhibitions held by the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Amateurfotografie (Society for the promotion of amateur photography) between 1904 and 1914 – in marked contrast to the ten exhibitions held between 1893 and 1903. The subject matter of German fine art photography was limited to three areas. Landscapes, in which the Hofmeister brothers were leading lights, portraits – important names in this area being those of Hugo Erfurth in Dresden, Jacob Hilsdorf in Bingen and Nicola Perscheid in Leipzig: and the interiors of the buildings

Oscar (1868 – 1943) und Theodor Hofmeister (1871 – 1937), The Lone Rider, 1904, photogravure, 12.1 x 17.7 cm, published in Camera Work, Juli 1904, Museum ür Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg.

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of the grande bourgeoisie. Nude photography was only of marginal importance in Germany. We have seen that people turned to the model of the old masters: they also turned to the landscapes of the Fontainebleau school, to the impressionists and to the symbolists. However, as Ulrich Keller has convincingly demonstrated, the images produced by the fine art photographers never challenged the established aesthetic norms of bourgeois society. Themes such as the suffering soul who withdraws from reality or from bourgeois society, one thinks here of Paul Gauguin or van Gogh, which were characteristic of fin de siècle art. Such themes could not, to name but one example, have been an issue to a wealthy doctor such as Eduard Arning, one of Hamburg’s first car owners. Arning’s large format, multicoloured offset Hüttenwerk (1900), is clearly inspired by James McNeill Whistler’s Nocturnes, and is also larger than many of the works from which it is derived. Whistler’s aestheticism and his public relations style appealed to the fine art photographers. Their themes of choice were idyllic scenes, landscapes, cityscapes and family scenes. The fine art photographer was rather an odd creature. Possibly the most representative was German-American Frank Eugene Smith, who called himself Frank Eugene. He taught both in Munich, where he had studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts), and in Leipzig. Eugene often worked his negatives with an etching needle, pencil or brush in order to achieve a ‘painting’ effect. He was also representative as regards his international network within the movement. He became a member of the Linked Ring in London in 1900, he was a founding member of the New York Photo-Secession in 1902 and he joined the International Association of Fine Art Photographers in 1905. In July 1907 he met Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Heinrich Kühn in order to experiment with the new autochrome lumiere procedure in Tutzing on the shores of Lake Starnberg near Munich. This meeting was later to become known in fine art photography circles as the ‘summit meeting’.6 By this time, the high point of the fine art photography movement had long passed. The associations, such as the one in Hamburg, were more concerned with maintaining the upper class social side of things than anything else: they were more interested in organising lavish social events than evenings devoted to photography, which Lichtwark would have preferred. This situation led to the end of the elitist movement. Moreover, “photography and the amateur movement had become too much of a commonplace, too ordinary. Anybody could produce a fine art photograph just by studying the photography magazines. There was a repertoire of recognised themes, effects and techniques. The elitist, artistic motivation had therefore completely gone.” 7 In order to highlight the contrast of this with the rest of the art scene of that period, we only need to mention that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Fritz Bleyl founded the expressionist artists’ group Die Brücke (The Bridge) in 1905, that Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and Gabriele Münter founded Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Horseman) in 1911 in Munich, that the Futurists had come into being in Paris in 1909, and that the Fauves around Henri Matisse had by then been active for a long time. The fact that Picasso had become successful hardly needs mentioning. The real achievement of the fine art photographers in Germany lies in the fact that their activities had led to a marked improvement in the standard of professional photography. Quite a few professional photographers identified with the aims of the amateur movement: Rudolf Dührkoop, the aforementioned Erfurth, Hildsdorf and Perscheid for example. The conventional studio portrait in

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6

See Ulrich Pohlmann (Ed.), “Frank Eugene, The Dream of Beauty”, exhibition catalogue Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, Nazraeli Press, Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich,1995.

7

Jens Jäger, „Amateurphotographen-Vereine und kunstphotographische Bewegung in Hamburg 1890-1910“, in Kunstphotographie um 1900. Die Sammlung Ernst Juhl, exhibion catalogue, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Hamburg, 1989, p. 33 – 38, esp. p. 38.


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particular, with its set poses and props, changed fundamentally as a result of the influence of the amateur movement. It became fresher and more spontaneous, and it was sometimes set outdoors.

The Weimar Republic

Unknown Photographer, Cover of the Berliner Illustrirten Zeitung (Ebert and Noske in the Summer. Recorded during a visit to the Resort of Travemünde in Haffkrug), No. 34, 24 August, 1919, Kulturprojekte Berlin.

8

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Malerei Fotografie Film, second edition 1927, reprinted by Florian Kupferberg, Mainz, 1978, p. 47

9

Ibid., p .26

10 Haffner, op. cit., p. 203

The break between pre-war photography with its backward looking aestheticism and the emergence of a new way of perceiving, a ‘new vision’, is best illustrated by an image in Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s book Malerei, Fotografie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film), which was first published in 1925 as part of the Bauhaus series. In it, Moholy reproduces a photo of a Paris Boulevard taken by Alfred Stieglitz in 1911 and adds the following caption: “The victory of impressionism or the misunderstanding of photography. The photographer has become a painter, instead of using his camera photographically.”8 Moholy uses the word ‘photographically’ to mean ‘seeing objectively’, that is to say to perceive without the distorting influence of intellectual experience or associations. “Everyone has an obligation to see the optical reality, that which is objectively there – that which can be interpreted in and of itself before he can arrive at a subjective position.” 9 Art had retained the expressionism of the early years: expressionism had survived the war. Art also consisted in the vehement Dadaist rejection of expressionism, and in the later period of the Weimar Republic, in ‘objectivity’ and in ‘the new objectivity’ in painting, in the ‘new building’ in architecture and in the ‘new vision’ in photography. These terms bear the notion of a new beginning following the catastrophe of the First World War. However these things must be seen in a more differentiated way. Broadly speaking, one can divide the Weimar period into three phases. “In the early years, from its foundation until 1924, it looked as if the Republic would fail from the outset. Then, surprisingly, there came a period of consolidation, the ‘roaring twenties’, from 1925 to 1929. Then, fairly suddenly, there came the period which saw the breakdown of the Republic and the lead-up to Hitler’s Machtergreifung from 1930 to 1932.” 10 In November 1918, a revolutionary wave rolled over the country, a wave similar to the one that brought the Russian Revolution. It is one of the great ironies of history that the wave of the Russian Revolution was in no small measure energised by the most senior ranks of the German army under the leadership of Field Marshall Hindenburg (who would later appoint Hitler chancellor) and the reactionary monarchist Ludendorff, in order to weaken the Russian opponent. At the end of the war, almost without a sound, the monarchy slipped away and the Republic was declared. While this was happening, the revolutionary insurgencies were violently suppressed. 1919 saw the murders of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in Berlin during the so-called Spartakusaufstand (Spartacist Uprising) and of Kurt Eisner, prime minister of the Munich Räterepublik (Republic of Councils). Power went to the Social Democrats who were, to an extent, unprepared for it. They lost it however, during the 1920 elections. There was no stable government until 1925. The Nazi Party was founded in 1920 in Munich and one year later the SA (Sturmabteilung) made its first appearance. Its role was to terrorise political opponents. In 1923 the country was rocked by inflation. This period was followed by a phase of relative stability from 1925 until the world economic crisis of 1929. In 1926, Germany

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was accepted back into the League of Nations. Its foreign minister at the time was Stresemann. As distinct from the pre-war years, photography had come to be seen as a medium for representing reality which could not be viewed separately from the historical developments and prevailing social circumstances. It took on an extremely diverse range of manifestations during this period, practices and techniques which were being carried out simultaneously, rather than coming one after the other in a sequential fashion. For that reason, the presentation below of the most important aspects of photography in the Weimar Republic does not follow any pre-determined structure. It is simply based on artistic currents and themes and on particular photographers and events.

Dada: photomontages Dadaism was a nihilistic-anarchistic opposition movement which was initially formed in 1916 at Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, in protest against the madness of the war. In Berlin the movement took on a decidedly political tone. Dadaists were opposed to everything. After the revolutionary disappointments of the Weimar Republic, the Dadaists in Berlin polemicised against everything. They were operating on the completely reasonable assumption that nothing would really change. One pamphlet written in 1919 said, ‘we will blow Weimar up’. The collage technique of the cubists and the futurists became the signature mode of expression of the Dadaists and the spirit they incarnated. The world was in ruins; and it was not only the unity of the world that had been lost but also its meaning. Metaphorically torn as a result of all of this, the Dadaists “collaged” themselves back together without any immediately visible coherence. The best known example of this is Hannah Höch’s 1919 photomontage Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser Dada durch die erste Weimarer Bierbauch-Kulturepoche Deutschlands (Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the First Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Period of Germany). his is at once a panorama with clear revolutionary overtones representing a dynamic slice through the irreconcilable divisions of the early Weimar Republic, and a call to action of the female driving forces of Dadaistic destruction of the old order. Raoul Hausmann’s work tends to rather more concision. Dada cino from 1920 – 21 is a good example. Both the utopian references in some of his montages and the combination of photographic material and typography are reminiscent of the Bauhaus. John Heartfield produced some of his first photomontages together with his friend George Grosz during this period. He was later to become known first and foremost through his acerbic political photomontages for the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ, The Workers Pictorial Newspaper). These artists adopted the label ‘monteur’ (a mechanic or fitter) as a means of countering the middle class perception of art as embodied by the myth of the creative, likeable artist. The Dadaists used photographed fragments of reality, which they cut out from newspapers and magazines, from advertising and from documentary photographs and these fragments served as a medium for the representation of current affairs. This, aesthetically speaking, apparently destructive approach soon disappeared with the calming of the political situation. It was however important in the further development of art and of photography in particular.

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Lászlo Moholy-Nagy and the Bauhaus 11 Moholy-Nagy, op. cit., p. 35.

The term ‘photomontage’ was first used in this sense in Moholy-Nagy’s aforementioned book Malerei Fotografie Film. In 1925 he defines the term in this book as, ‘the contemporary art of cutting up photographs and putting the pieces next to one another. This careful organisation of the pieces is what distinguishes the first photomontages of the Dadaists from a more developed form of montage, namely photo-plastic montage.’ 11 As an artist, Moholy-Nagy was completely self-taught. In 1923 he was called by Walter Gropius to the Bauhaus in Weimar, which had been founded in 1919, and he taught there until 1928. He was of a rational bent. He saw himself more as an engineer than an artist. In this he differed from the Dadaists but he was, in a positive sense, devoted to the ideal of the marriage of art and technology; as

Hannah Höch (1889 – 1978), Section with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919/20, collage, 114 x 90 cm, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Hannah Höch / LITA, Bratislava 2010

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was Gropius in the area of architecture. Moholy’s portrait in monteur’s overalls, which was taken in 1926 by his wife Lucia Moholy, represents this position. His book explains, in the manner of a manifesto, the new artistic possibilities of film and photography. He experimented not only with photo-plastic techniques, but also with camera-less photography, that is to say with photogrammes and phototypesetting which is a hybrid technique combining typography and photography. True to life photos, ‘normal’ photos so to speak, were the product of the skilfully managed interplay of different light intensities, the considered use of structure and of shadow and also of unusual camera angles. It was first and foremost about a largely mechanical approach to image composition and about that most central constitutive element of photography; light. On the other hand, the previously discussed notion of ‘seeing objectively’ took a back seat to a utopian aim that was gaining more and more importance: “concordance with a new social order and (striking) a balance between human existence and the technical world.” 12 While at the Bauhaus, the idea of teaching a photography class never crossed Moholy’s mind, the technical subject matter of his course being such a natural means of composing a photograph to him. He did not see himself as a photographer either, but rather as a painter. Straightforward product photography, for catalogues and for publicity purposes, was carried out at the Bauhaus by reproduction photographers, Lucia Moholy and Erich Consemüller among them. The advertising photography, which Moholy practised and of which he was a vociferous advocate, was carried out by Herbert Bayer. It was not until 1929, after the school had moved to Dessau that Walter Peterhans took over the newly founded photography department. The Bauhaus was closed by the National Socialists in 1933, by which time it had moved to Berlin.

Die Dinge: Albert Renger-Patzsch Die Welt ist schön (The World is Beautiful) is the title of the book published by Albert Renger-Patzsch in 1928. This book was more or less considered the bible of new objectivity photography. We owe the title to the publishers: the photographer himself wanted to call it Die Dinge (Things). 100 photographs – nicely composed, objective and technically perfect – show the world in isolated snippets from a photographic perspective: plants, animals, people, landscapes and natural scenes, materials, architecture, industrial products and, for want of a better term, cultural techniques. At the end of the book there is a photo of hands which represent the creative person. One also finds themes in Die Welt ist schön, that might be regarded as originating in the pre-war period, albeit without the blurring, as well as some efforts to imitate painting. There are at the same time some decidedly contemporary themes and types of photography. Renger-Patzsch is at once modern and anti-modern. The best example of this duality is an image of an ‘entry wall’, as it is called in the book. This photo, which prominently features a fire hydrant in the foreground, does not give an unencumbered view of the building in the background. All one can see is the roof and a chimney. It is a photo of the Fagus factory in Alfeld an der Leine, one of Walter Gropius’ pioneering industrial buildings in the modern architectural style. This is a thoroughly modern photograph in its composition and in its laconic style. Moreover, the building in the photo is also a famous example of modernity and the observer is left wondering how to interpret the

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12 Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in a letter to F. Kalivoda in June 1934, in, Telehor, Brno, ed. by Franz Kalivoda, No. 1-2, 1936, p. 117, quoted in: Andreas Haus, “Laszlo Moholy-Nagy”, in Jeannine Fiedler (Ed.), Fotografie am Bauhaus, Nishen, Berlin, 1990, p. 15 – 18, esp. p. 18.


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14 Siegfried Kracauer, Die Angestellten, Aus dem neuesten Deutschland, (1929), Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1971, p. 15. 15 Ulrich Keller in August Sander: Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts, Portraitphotographien 1892 – 1952, edited by Gunther Sander, text by Ulrich Keller, Schirmer/Mosel, München, 1980, p. 34.

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masking out of this quintessentially modern building in this quintessentially modern photo. Was it deliberate? In other words, can images convey ideology? In an essay written in 1931 entitled “Kleine Geschichte der Fotografie” (A Short History of Photography), Walter Benjamin questions the use of photography in the creation of an aesthetic framework for the world. Citing his friend, photographer Sasha Stone, he declares that the notion of photography as art is a dangerous one to pursue. Then he adds, “the creative aspect of photography lies in its commitment to fashion. The world is beautiful, that is their motto. This motto reveals an approach to photography that is able to raise a simple tin to the heavens, while not being capable of grasping the human context within which the tin appears. Thus, even their most unlikely subjects appear more as the precursors of their own saleability than of their perception. The true face of this kind of photographic creation is advertising and the conveyance of connotative meaning. For this reason its true counterpart is exposition or construction.” 13

Sociological Portrait of Society: August Sander Benjamin was substantially more sympathetic in relation to August Sander’s project. This photographer, who was born in 1876, decided to do an “inventory” of 20th century Germans, which he called Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts (20th century people). His plan was to do portraits of a cross-section of society – of all professions and all social classes. There were to be 45 portfolios, each with 12 photos. Sander, who was a successful photographer during the heyday of fine art photography, nevertheless found his true calling as an objective photographer and developed an unmistakable style of his own. He began his Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts project under the Empire and photographed both horizontal and vertical portraits, documenting not only the status quo, but also the changes that occurred in the composition of society as a result of the political and other changes it was undergoing. Sander staged all the photographs while at the same time giving his subjects sufficient freedom to allow them to participate in the staging process. The subjects’ poses are accentuated as a result of Sander’s use of a somewhat antiquated, large format plate camera with exposure times of between two and four seconds. In 1929 a selection of 60 photographs, a kind of interim report on his life’s work, was published under the title Antlitz der Zeit (The face of time). In the preface to the book, the writer Alfred Döblin emphasised the sociological, academic approach of the work. “We have here a sort of cultural history or, to be more precise, a sociological examination of the past thirty years (…). Whereas comparative anatomy affords us an understanding of organs, this photographer has pursued comparative photography and in so doing he has enhanced his work with an academic aspect over and above that achieved by photographers who lack his broad focus.” In his classical sociological study Die Angestellten (The Employees) which was first published in the same year as Sander’s book and which was in some ways comparable to it, Siegfried Kracauer spoke of a ‘hunger for immediacy, which is no doubt due to the malnourishment resulting from German idealism.’ 14 The abstract nature of idealistic thinking leads to a hunger for reportage, for the duplication of a detail of life. Sander on the other hand, not only revived the image of a whole epoch through his mosaic of individual portraits, but also a kind of general human panorama. 15

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August Sander (1876 – 1964), Jobless, 1928, gelatin silver print/glass plate, 16.5 x 12 cm, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur,Cologne.

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Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895 – 1946), Kloake in Paris – Sewers of Paris – Paris Drain, 1925, from Foto-Auge, 76 fotos der Zeit, Collection of Franz Roh and Jan Tschichold (Akademischer Verlag Dr. Fritz Wedekind & Co.), Stuttgart.

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Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895 – 1946), Schocken Department Store, 1925, gelatin silver print, 22 x 16.3 cm Fotografische Sammlung der Berlinischen Galerie, Berlin.

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Here too one comes up against the question of the standpoint of the photographer. Sander wanted to be a neutral observer, to maintain a certain scholarly objectivity, but it was quite natural that he should have his preferences, for the peasantry for example. It is interesting to compare his work with other photographers’ conceptions of portraiture. Helmar Lerski’s close-up, extremely strongly lit images of faces sometimes bear remarkable similarities to Erich Retzlaff’s glorifying images of blue collar workers. Lerski’s approach was a reflection of his somewhat sentimental socialism, while Retzlaff’s was clearly a reflection of the blood and soil ideology of National Socialism. Erna Lendvai-Dircksen was operating on the basis of a similar standpoint to Retzlaff’s when she produced her tendentious glorification of the German tribes.

Press Photography

Sasha Stone (1895 – 1940), Files, ca. 1926, from Foto-Auge, 76 fotos der Zeit, Collection of Franz Roh and Jan Tschichold (Akademischer Verlag Dr. Fritz Wedekind & Co.), Stuttgart.

16 See Dirk Halfbrodt, „Entwicklungsgeschichte der deutschen Illustrierten und der Pressefotografie 1895 – 1914“, in Philipp Kester – Photojournalist, New York – Berlin – Munich 1903-1935, edited by Dirk Halfbrodt and Ulrich Pohlmann, Nicolai, Berlin, 2003, p. 40 – 43. 17 See. Bernd Weise, „Fotojournalismus, Erster Weltkrieg – Weimarer Republik“, in Deutsche Fotografie, Macht eines Mediums 1870 – 1970, exhibition catalogue Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, DuMont, Cologne, 1997, p. 72 – 87.

Photo journalism has existed since the 1880s or 1890s. The thing that made it possible was the discovery of autotype in 1882, a half tone relief printing process which made the printing of photographs possible. The difficulty of getting autotype images to stay on the plate cylinder of a rapid printing press was not overcome until 1901 by the Scherl-Verlag’s Der Tag newspaper. Photographic illustrations were in general only to be seen in magazines and on inserts in daily newspapers. While offset printing was first introduced about 1910, the First World War put an end to all experimentation in this area. As a result, the first dailies with photographs did not appear until the mid 1920s. 16 Early newspaper photography was relatively static because of the cumbersome plate cameras with low aperture lenses. That changed in 1925 with the introduction of a light, manageable camera with a high speed lens, the Ermanox. Glass plate negatives still had to be used because of the nature of the available film, but indoor photographs without a flash had become possible. The Leica was brought out in the same year. This was the first high speed, small image camera. The negatives were twice the size of a cinematographic image, namely 24 by 36 millimetres and one could take 36 exposures in a row. It took a few years for the Leica to break through because many chief editors did not regard it as a serious tool worthy of a professional, owing to its small size and the small format of its negatives. The presentation in the media of politicians within a private context, which is common today, did not catch on until after the war. An early example of this was a page one presentation on 24th August 1919 by the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung (BIZ), of Germany’s president Friedrich Ebert and his minister for the military Gustav Noske, wearing bathing costumes on their summer holidays. The Social Democrats condemned it as tasteless but the BIZ’s circulation was certainly not harmed. 17 All in all the times were too unsettled with too many things happening one after the other, for photo journalists to appreciate the journalistic value of the things that were going on around them, many of which would even have been of interest abroad. It was not until after the inflationary period, after 1924, that photo journalism began to develop in a significant way. The best known German photojournalist was Erich Salomon. Originally a lawyer, he began his career in 1926 as an amateur photographer and, not surprisingly, court reporter. Salomon became famous for the fact that he would sneak into political conferences, even international ones, and photograph the participants

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Lucia Moholy (1894 – 1989), Portrait of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, 1926, gelatin silver print, 22.4 x 15.4 cm, Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn / Lucia Moholy / LITA, Bratislava 2010.

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18 See Ute Eskildsen, Jan-Christopher Horak, Film und Foto der zwanziger Jahre, Eine Betrachtung der Internationalen Werkbundausstellung „Film und Foto“ 1929, Hatje, Stuttgart,1979.

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when they thought they were not being observed. The French foreign minister at the time, Aristide Briand called him “the king of the pryers”. In 1931 he published a collection entitled Berühmte Zeitgenossen in unbewachten Augenblicken (Famous Contemporaries in Unobserved Moments). Salomon’s circle included many younger press photographers, such as Hans Baumann, a press illustrator who had become a photojournalist who went under the name of Felix H. Man. Working closely with photo editor Stefan Lorant, Man initiated the modern form of photo journalism which consists of a sequence of images. The best known example of this was a 1931 series about Il Duce, Benito Mussolini. After emigrating to England, Lorant and Man founded the Picture Post, the forerunner of the magazine Life. Some of the best photographers of the period worked as photojournalists. There was Martin Munkacsi who came from Budapest in 1927 to join the UllsteinVerlag who had begun as a sports photographer, the Bauhaus photographer Otto Umbehr, known as Umbo, and Sasha Stone who came from St. Petersburg (marketing slogan: ‘Sasha Stone sees even more’), to name but a few. Contrary to the experience of the end of the 19th century, the amateur movement experienced a renaissance through an initiative of the left wing Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ). In 1925, its readers were invited to become active as photo journalists and to depict their working as well as their social lives. 1926 saw the emergence of a German association of worker-photographers with its own publication, Der Arbeiter-Fotograf (The Worker-Photographer). This was an initiative of John Heartfield, whose photomontages, with their acerbic class warfare statements, often graced the front page of the AIZ.

The FiFo 1929 A gigantic exhibition devoted to modern communication techniques called Pressa was held in Cologne in 1928. It had photo journalism as one of its themes. Another exhibition called. Neue Wege der Fotografie (New Ways of Photography) was held by the Jenaer Kunstverein (Jena Art Society) in the same year and in 1929, the FolkwangMuseum in Essen held its Fotografie der Gegenwart (Photography of the present) exhibition, which later toured Germany. The highlight of these exhibitions, which presented photography as a contemporary medium, was the Film und Foto exhibition of the Internationale Werkbund, known as the FiFo. 18 It had ten display areas, and almost 1000 exhibits. It offered an overview of the international situation in new photography and its various fields of application. Moholy-Nagy played an important role in developing the concept. Not only was a whole room devoted to his work, he was also responsible for the arrangement of the entrance area which was done in keeping with the ideas in his previously mentioned book Malerei Fotografie Film. The various applications of photography were presented as follows: photo journalism, technology and science, photographic composition, photography and advertising. At the height of the new vision, it was concluded that this exhibition should be considered a retrospective, bearing in mind the historical events that followed it. Two books with a strong connection to the exhibition were published at that time. One was foto-auge (photo-eye) by art historian Franz Roh and typographer Jan Tschichold. The other was Es kommt der neue Fotograf (The New Photographer is on his Way) by Werner Graeff. Whereas Graeff’s work was a sort of recapitula-

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tion of the formal possibilities of the new photography, Roh and Tschichold went further with their work. They produced visual shocks by juxtaposing images on double page spreads and they included surreal works by people such as Max Ernst who were not represented at the exhibition. Franz Roh wrote in the preface that people who could not use a camera would soon become the new illiterates. Like Benjamin’s work, this book also contains an apology of heterogeneous, reality-based photography as well as a jibe at RengerPatzsch: “our book does not only mean to say ‘the world is beautiful’, but also: the world is exciting, cruel, and weird. therefore pictures were included that might shock aesthetes who stand aloof.” 19

19 foto-auge, 76 Fotos der Zeit, zusammengestellt von Franz Roh und Jan Tschichold, Akademischer Verlag, dr. Fritz Wedekind & Co, Stuttgart, 1929, p. 5, english translation in the original text p. 16.

Photography as an epistemological aid: Aby Warburg Art and culture historian Aby Warburg defined himself as a “picture historian”. His main focus was the relationship between antiquity and the renaissance and with the relationship between magic and science in those periods. Not only was he interested in old works of art, he also developed an iconography analysing the themes of antiquity, of the renaissance, and of the time from the renaissance

Erich Salomon (1886 – 1944), Ah – there he is! The king of prying, 1931, gelatin silver print, 15.3 x 20.4 cm, Fotografische Sammlung der Berlinischen Galerie, Berlin, bkp/Erich Solomon, © Erich Salomon-Archiv/Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.

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Hitler like not being known. 100 Image Documents from the Life of the Leader, 1932, book cover, Contemporary History-Verlag, Kulturprojekte Berlin, German Historical Museum, Berlin.

20 Aby Warburg, Der Bilderatlas MNEMOSYNE, Eds. Martin Warnke in cooperation with Claudia Brink, 2nd edition, Akademie Verlag, Berlin, 2003, p. 7.

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Heinrich Hoffmann (1885 – 1957), Leaders and Followers – the Witness of True National Community, cover of the Münchner Illustrierten Presse, No. 37, 13. September 1934, Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, München.

through to his own period. His analyses concerned the changes and the historical and cultural context in which they occurred. Language not being an adequate medium to express the notions of his complex research, he came up with the idea of working with photographic material to create associative references through a kind of collage or montage in which themes could be grouped in a systematic fashion. “Black flax was draped over wooden boards and photographs were attached to the boards; pictures and reproduction photos from books or pictorial material from newspapers and other sources from everyday life were all used. The images were arranged in such a way as to make the different thematic divisions clear.” 20 Warburg called this image atlas Mnemosyne (Memory). It is only by reproducing the individual tables as a whole that the context can be conveyed. However, given that the individual elements on the boards can be moved around, the representation always remains a work in progress. Warburg worked on the project from 1924 until his death in 1929, while at the same time working on another project based on the same principle, the subject matter of which was the history of astrology and astronomy. Interestingly, this visually based epistemological exercise using photographic images – a bona fide artistic technique – was being carried out at the time of the publication of the book foto-auge. This was also the period when the surrealists in France were pursuing their subversive activities, whose aim was to torpedo and undermine supposed realisations and certainties.

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Photography under National Socialism After the world economic crisis of 1929, cracks began to appear in the first German republic. The number of unemployed grew rapidly. Emergency edicts were issued in response to the catastrophic economic situation. The parliament was dissolved and new elections were held on 14th September 1930, from which the National Socialists emerged as the second force after the Social Democrats. Repressive action against independents and left wing artists increased. The exo-

John Heartfield (1891 – 1968), Hurray, the Butter is All!, 1935, rotogravure print/ rephotographed montage with typography, 38.4 x 26.7 cm, cover of Das Illustrierte Volksblatt, 19 December, 1935, Collection of Barbara Morgan, George Eastman House, Rochester.

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21 On this subject, see Rolf Sachsse, Die Erziehung zum Wegsehen, Fotografie im NS-Staat, Philo Fine Arts, Dresden, 2003. 22 Rudolf Herz, Hoffmann und Hitler, Fotografie als Medium des Führer-Mythos, exhibition catalogue Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, 1994.

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dus of German artists and intellectuals began: Kurt Tucholsky, Herwarth Walden, Georg Lukacs, Carl Einstein and many others left the country. In 1932, the 84 year-old Paul Hindenburg won the presidential elections against Adolf Hitler. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party) came out strongest of the parliamentary election that followed. Fear of the increasingly powerful Communists was one of the reasons that led Hindenburg to appoint Hitler chancellor on 30th January 1933. An emergency decree signed by Hindenburg was issued following the burning of the German parliament in 1933. This decree largely set aside the constitution and did away with basic rights. Terror set in. Shortly thereafter, the so-called enabling laws were passed, which moved the moderate right wing parties to disband, and which led to the banning of the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party. Hitler followed this up with the killing of all the SA leadership in order to secure his mastery over the Reichswehr, the army. The SA was replaced by the SS. The years 1934 to 1937 were a period of relative calm. Above all though, these years saw an enormous economic upturn and full employment. This was in large measure due to the massive armament programme. During this period the regime had a unique opportunity with the Berlin Olympics, to showcase itself on the world stage. The attack on avant-garde art had already begun before the Machtergreifung and was being carried out aggressively. The pamphlet Kunst und Rasse (Art and Race) by Paul Schultze-Naumburg was published in 1928 and one year later, Alfred Rosenberg, Heinrich Himmler and other National Socialists founded the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur (Fighting League for German Culture). In 1933, the first degenerate art exhibitions were held and this series of exhibitions culminated with the Munich exhibition in 1937. One of Hitler’s principal instruments of domination was the media control exercised by the Reichsministerium für Volkserklärung und Propaganda (Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda) under Joseph Goebbels. Taking a different approach from the one adopted in the campaign against modern art, Goebbels sought to create the impression among the population that a safe world was possible, an idyllic world, but only through the actions of the new regime. The economic upturn supported this perspective. This strategy had a very subtle and varied effect on photography. One can no more speak of a total Gleichschaltung (“bringing into line”) of photography prior to 1938 than one can speak of a total Gleichschaltung of the press. It is true that the subject matter was often similar to that of pre-war fine art photography: idyllic rural scenes with traditional looking locals, or working people and scenes of industrial achievement all presented with the same, self-affirming, heroic gloss. However, with the exception of the Party magazine Der illustrierte Beobachter (The Illustrated Observer), there was no immediately identifiable peddling of ideology involved. Even today, there is the difficulty that we misunderstand these images purely as illustrations of our own biased view of history 21. Discussions about this question concerning the work of the aforementioned Erich Retzlaff and Erna Lendvai confirm this. Given that the whole state was tailor-made to suit the requirements of one man, Hitler, it is clear that public photographic propaganda was also tailored to fit in with him. Photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, who accompanied Hitler for many years, played a key role in Hitler’s marketing as a “charismatic leader” in the media. 22 His company not only produced magazine covers and other material for

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Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897 – 1966), Entrance Wall, published in Die Welt ist Schön, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv.

the German press including the Illustrieter Beobachter, it also published postcards and books. Hoffmann’s role was far more that of an executive, who saw to it that things were carried out, than that of a consultant whose role was to provide ideas. There was one exception to this: the “private” Hitler was an invention of Hoffmann’s. It was also a perfectly staged continuation of a trend that had begun in press photography under the Weimar Republic. Hoffmann’s photographs moulded Hitler’s image, and Hitler appreciated the importance of his media image more than anybody. The cult surrounding the Autobahns, the Nuremberg rallies, the Berlin Olympics and Leni Riefenstahl’s films, all constitute examples of the importance of stage management in the creation of an aura of power. In an essay about artwork in the age of reproduction which was written in French and published in 1936 in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (Journal for Social Research), Walter Benjamin sought to examine this question. Looked at in its historical context, one can see in this text a desire to destroy the aura of Hitler through the use of the reproduction technologies employed by the media. What was taking place however, was the exact opposite of this and Benjamin was well aware of it. “Fascism”, he wrote, boils down to an aestheticization of political life.” He also saw with equal clarity what was to follow a few years later. “All efforts to aestheticise politics culminate at the same point. That same point is war.” 23 Translated from German to English by Peter Strauss

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23 Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit, (Suhrkamp, Frankfurt) 1981, p. 42


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Biographical Notes:

Arning, Eduard (Manchester, 1855 – 1936) learned photography during a study trip to the Hawaiian Islands in the service of the Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften where as a medical doctor he was to study leprosy and build an ethnographic collection. He was one of the early members of the fine art photography movement in Hamburg and was for many years a board member of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Amateurfotografie. Kunstphotographie um 1900. Die Sammlung Ernst Juhl, Exhibition catalogue, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Hamburg, 1989. Bayer, Herbert (Upper Austria, 1900 – 1985) studied at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1925 and then began taking photographs. From 1925 to 1928 he managed the Werkstatt für Druck und Reklame, which later became known as the Werkstatt für Typographie und Werbsachengestaltung, the printing workshop that produced the Bauhaus’ printed material. From 1928 he worked as a freelancer for agencies and set up exhibitions and in 1938 he emigrated to the USA and was involved in exhibitions there, including Bauhaus exhibitions at the MoMA in New York and others. He also worked for numerous American companies. Cohen, Arthur A., Herbert Bayer, The Complete Work, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., London, 1984. Consemüller, Erich (Bielefeld, 1902 – 1957) completed an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and then studied at the Bauhaus from 1922 to 1927

and worked until 1929 as assistant manager of the construction division under Hannes Meyer. He produced photo documentation for the Bauhaus from 1925 to 1929. He then worked as a teacher in the architecture department of the Kunstgewerbeschule Halle, Burg Giebichenstein, until 1933. After World War II he became a town planner in Halle. Herzogenrath, Wulf and Kraus, Stefan, Erich Consemüller, Fotografien Bauhaus Dessau, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, 1989.

Dührkoop, Rudolph (Hamburg, 1848 – 1918) worked initially as a railway employee and salesman but opened a photo studio in 1883. He was active as a portrait photographer and favoured the use of natural environments as amateurs did. He also specialised in theatre and dance photography and was a member of the Linked Ring and the Royal Photographic Society, among other associations. Kunstphotographie um 1900. Die Sammlung Ernst Juhl, Exhibition catalogue, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Hamburg, 1989. Erfurth, Hugo (Halle/Saale, 1874 – 1948) started a photography traineeship in 1892 while studying at the Kunstakademie in Dresden and then took over the Dresden studio of Schröder, the court photographer. A professional, modern photographer, he was involved in many amateur exhibitions. He taught at the Buchgewerbeakademie in

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Leipzig until 1914 and then adopted a more objective style after World War I. He was a significant portrait photographer and a founding member of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Lichtbildner (GDL). von Dewitz, Bodo and Karin SchullerProcopcvici, Hugo Erfurth, Fotograf zwischen Tradition und Moderne, Wienand, Cologne, 1992.

Eugene, Frank (Frank Eugene Smith) (New York, 1865 – 1936) began taking photographs in 1885 and studied painting from 1886 to 1894 at the Kunstakademie in Munich. Afterwards he returned to New York where he worked as a portrait painter, mainly painting well-known theatre actors. He returned to Germany in 1901 and taught from 1907 to 1913 at the Lehrund Versuchsanstalt für Fotografie in Munich and from 1913 at the Königliche Akademie für Graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe in Leipzig. He was a member of the London Camera Club, the Linked Ring and a founding member of the PhotoSecession movement in New York. Pohlmann, Uhlrich (Ed.), Frank Eugene, The Dream of Beauty, Exhibition catalogue. Fotomuseum in Münchner Stadtmuseum, Nazraeli Press, Munich, 1995. Graeff, Werner (Wuppertal, 1901 – 1978) began taking photographs as a schoolboy and briefly attended the Bauhaus in 1921/22 and was a member of the De Stijl group in Weimar. He wrote a screenplay with experimental filmmaker Hans Richter


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in 1929 and worked on the concept of the FiFo exhibition in Stuttgart. From 1930 he wrote books on photography and worked as a lecturer and then moved to Switzerland via Spain in 1934. He returned to Germany in 1951 and taught at the Folkwangschule in Essen. From 1959 he worked as an independent sculptor and painter. Winkler, Richard G., Werner Graeff und der Konstruktivismus in Deutschland 1918 – 1934, Doctoral dissertation, Technische Hochschule Aachen, 1981.

Hausmann, Raoul (Vienna, 1886 – 197) studied at the Staatliche Lehranstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin where he met Hannah Höch in Emil Orlik’s class. He published work in various avant-garde magazines and was one of the initiators of Dadaism in Berlin. His photomontages were a visual form of intellectual expression drawing on diverse media such as photography, film, typography and dance. He photographed on a regular basis after 1927 and rebelled against the formalism of the new vision. Der deutsche Spießer ärgert sich: Raoul Hausmann, 1886 – 1971, Exhibition catalogue. Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Hatje, Ostfildern, 1994. Heartfield, John (Helmut Herzfelde) (Berlin, 1891 – 1968) studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich and in Berlin from 1908 to 1914. He founded the magazine Neue Jugend with his brother Wieland Herzfelde in 1916 and founded the Malik-Verlag publishing house in 1917, for which he created book covers. He produced montages in 1919 with George Grosz under the name “Monteur-Dada” and also did some theatre work for Erwin Piscator and Max Reinhardt. He began creating political photomontages in 1924 and

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worked for the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung from 1930 to1938. He was exiled to Prague in 1933 and moved to London in 1938, returning to East Berlin in 1950. John Heartfield, Exhibition catalogue. Akademie der Künste zu Berlin, DuMont, Cologne, 1991.

Hilsdorf, Jacob (Bingen, 1872 – 1916) learned photography from his father and after working for Nicola Perscheid, he took over his father’s studio. He focused on portraits of important dignitaries from aristocracy, politics, high finance and culture and was recognised as the best known portraitist of the imperial era. His unconventional approach to portraiture was reminiscent of fine art photography. Nicola Perscheid, Theodor und Jacob Hilsdorf, August Sander, der rheinlandpfälzische Beitrag zur Geschichte der Photographie, Exhibition catalogue, Landesmuseum Mainz, Schmidt, Mainz, 1989. Höch, Hannah (Gotha, 1889 – 1978) began her studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in 1912 and studied at the Staatliche Lehranstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums Berlin under Emil Orlik from 1915. She met Raoul Hausmann in 1918 and at the same time began producing photomontages, taking part in the Internationale Dada Messe in Berlin in 1920. She had contact with De Stijl artists during the 1920s. After World War II she devoted herself mostly to painting. Burmeister, Ralf (ed.), Hannah Höch: aller Anfang ist Dada!, Exhibition catalogue, Berlinishe Galerie, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2007.

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Hoffmann, Heinrich (Fürth, 1885 – 1957) worked for several photographers and then settled in Munich in 1906, opening his own studio in 1908 and working as a press photographer. He founded a stock photography agency in 1913. He joined the National Socialist Party in 1926 and co-founded the Party newspaper Illustrierter Beobachter. He produced photographic propaganda for Hitler and the Nazi Party and had significant involvement in the Nazis’ theft of art. Herz, Rudolf, Hoffmann und Hitler, Fotografie als Medium des FührerMythos, Exhibition catalogue, Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, 1994. Hofmeister, Oscar (Hamburg, 1868 – 1943) and (Hamburg 1871 – 1937) were the most significant of the German fine art photographers who both began taking photographs about 1890 and became members of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Amateurfotografie in Hamburg. There they exhibited their jointly-produced, large format, mostly colour, offsets. They carefully prepared preliminary studies of their pictures. One of their images was included in the collection of Alfred Stieglitz because they were the only fine art photographers in Germany, Kunstphotographie um 1900. Die Sammlung Ernst Juhl, Exhibition catalogue, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Hamburg, 1989. Lendvai-Dircksen, Erna (Wetterburg, 1883 – 1962) studied painting in Kassel and then trained as a photographer in Berlin in 1910 and 1911, opening her own portrait photography studio in 1916. She produced representations from 1917 of the “face of the German


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people” and from 1929 she worked on a series of photographs representing German tribes which was published in 1935 by the National Socialist Party’s own publishing house Gauverlag Bayreuth. She also photographed landscapes. She was a member of the National Socialist Party from 1930 and continued working in Coburg after 1945. Philipp, Claudia Gabriele, “Erna LendvaiDircksen, Verschiedene Möglichkeiten, eine Fotografin zu rezipieren” in Fotogeschichte, Beiträge zur Geschichte und Ästhetik der Fotografie, Marburg, Vol. 7, 1983, pp. 39 – 56.

Lerski, Helmar (Israel Schmuklerski) (Strasbourg, 1871 – 1956) worked in a bank in Zurich and then moved to the USA in 1893 where he worked as an actor in Milwaukee and in New York. He opened his own photo studio in Milwaukee, specialising in theatre portraits. He moved to Berlin in 1915 where he worked for the film Berlin. From 1929 he worked in portrait photography and in 1931 he published Köpfe des Alltags. In the same year he emigrated to Palestine where he worked in film and on the Verwandlungen durch Licht project (1936), returning to Zurich in 1948. Helmar Lerski, Lichtbildner, Exhibition catalogue, Museum Folkwang, Essen 1982. Man, Felix H. (Hans Baumann) (Freiburg, 1893 – 1985) studied history of art and painting in Berlin and Munich but his studies were interrupted by the war. He produced his first photographic essays on the western front and then worked as a press illustrator and, from 1928, as a freelance photo journalist for the Berlin press and for the Deutscher Photodienst (Dephot). He emigrated to

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London in 1934 and worked as chief reporter for the Picture Post. Man with Camera, Photographs from Seven Decades by Felix H. Man, Secker and Warburg, London, 1983.

Moholy, Lucia (Karlin bei Prag, 1894 – 1989) studied to become a teacher of German and English, then studied art history and philosophy at the University of Prague. She met Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in Berlin in 1920 and married him in 1921, attending the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1923 along with her husband. She was a photography trainee in 1923 and 1924, followed by work for the Bauhaus doing objective photography. She taught at the Akademie für Graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe in Leipzig in 1925-26. She separated from Moholy-Nagy in 1929. She succeeded Umbo as a photography teacher at the Itten-Schule in Berlin and emigrated to London via Prague and Paris where she worked from 193334 as a photographer and lecturer until 1958. From 1959 she worked as a freelance publicist in Zurich. Sachsse, Rolf, Lucia Moholy, Marzona, Düsseldorf, 1985. Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo (Bárcbasód, Hungary, 1895 – 1946) began studying law in 1913 and then did his military service after which, in 1918, he began painting. In 1919 he moved to Vienna and one year later he moved to Berlin where, in 1922, he had his first individual exhibition at Der Sturm gallery. He taught at the Bauhaus from 1923 to 1928 where he published the Bauhaus books with Walter Gropius. He ran a graphic design studio in Berlin from 1928 to 1934 and then emigrated to Amsterdam and in 1935 to London. He founded

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the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937 which later became the School of Design and, in 1947, the Institute of Design. He is the author of: Malerei Fotografie Film, Bauhausbücher Band 8, München, 1925; von Material zu Architektur, Bauhausbücher Band 14, München 1929; and Vision in Motion, Chicago, 1947. Haus, Andreas, Moholy-Nagy, Fotos und Fotogramme, Schirmer/Mosel, München, 1978.

Munkácsi, Martin (Márton Marmelstein) (Kolozsvár, Hungary, 1896 – 1963) began working at the age of 18 as a sports photographer in Budapest and achieved fame there. He was employed by the publisher Ullstein Verlag in 1927 and became very well-known as a photo journalist. He emigrated to New York in 1934 where he revolutionised fashion photography with his natural, photo journalistic style. Gundlach, F.C. (Ed.), Martin Munkácsi, Exhibition catalogue. Haus der Photographie, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Steidl, Göttingen, 2005. Perscheid, Nicola (Moselweis bei Koblenz, 1864 – 1930) completed a photography traineeship and then opened a studio in Görlitz, which he moved to Leipzig in 1894. In 1906 he moved to Berlin where he founded a school for fine art portrait and landscape photography. He was one of the best known professional fine art photographers. Cornwall, James E., In vornehmen Kreisen, Nicola Perscheid, Verlag Gerhard Knülle, Herrsching/ Ammersee, 1980.


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Peterhans, Walter (Frankfurt am Main, 1897 – 1960) studied mathematics, philosophy and history of art in Munich and Göttingen from 1920 to 1923 and then learned reproduction photography at the Staatliche Akademie für Graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe in Leipzig. He took the master craftsman’s examination in Weimar in 1926 and opened his own studio in Berlin in 1927. He was a Master at the Bauhaus from 1929 to 1933 and head of the new photography course there. He also taught at Werner Graeff’s photography school and at the Reimann-Schule in Berlin after 1933 and was a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago from 1938 to 1960 as well as a guest lecturer at the Ulmer Hochschule für Gestaltung which taught the Bauhaus traditions. Peterhans, Fotografien 1927-38, Exhibition catalogue, Museum Folkwang, Essen, 1993. Renger-Patzsch, Albert (Würzburg, 1897 – 1966) was a self-taught photographer who studied chemistry until 1922 in Dresden. He managed the picture collection of the Folkwang-Archiv in Essen and of the publishing house Auriga-Verlag in 1922 and became an independent photographer in Bad Harzburg in 1925. He moved to Essen in 1928 and taught at the Folkwangschule for one year in 1933. He moved to Wambel in 1944 and published many books. Wilde, Ann and Jürgen (ed.), Albert Renger-Patzsch, Meisterwerke, Exhibition catalogue, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, 1997. Retzlaff, Erich (1899 – 1993) worked as a photographer in Düsseldorf from 1926 and showed sympathy for the National Socialist movement from 1930 and joined the party in 1932. He published

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several photographic volumes with Nazi-style patriotic themes and then was a portrait photographer in Diessen am Ammersee from 1945. Salomon, Erich (Berlin, 1886 – 1944) studied law and then joined the publisher Ullstein Verlag in 1925 after which he worked as a photo journalist both for the Berline Illustrierte newspaper and as a freelancer. His work, which also appeared in international newspapers and magazines, afforded him star status as a press photographer. He came to be seen as the founder of modern photo journalism. He emigrated to The Hague in 1933 where, in 1940, he was betrayed and taken to Auschwitz where he and his family were killed in 1944. The estate was discovered by his only surviving son. He published Berühmte Zeitgenossen in unbewachten Augenblicken, Engelhorns Nachf., Stuttgart, 1931. Frecot, Janos, Erich Salomon, Mit Frack und Linse durch Politik und Gesellschaft, Photographien 1928–1938, Schirmer/ Mosel, Munich, 2004. Sander, August (Herdorf, 1876 – 1964) took up photography after having worked as a miner and opened his own studio in Linz, Austria in 1904. He moved to Cologne in 1910 and worked on the Menschen ohne Maske project after World War I, which led to the development of the Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts portfolio project. He had contact with the Kölner Progressiven, a group of painters that included Franz W. Seiwert and Heinrich Hoerle. He published Antlitz der Zeit in 1929 but the work was seized and banned by the National Socialists in 1934. He turned to landscape and architectural photography in 1935.

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Sander, Gunther (Ed.), text by Ulrich Keller, August Sander: Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts, Portraitphotographien 1892-1952, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, 1980.

Stone, Sasha (Aleksander Serge Steinsapir) (St. Petersburg, 1895 – 1940) trained in various fields and held a range of jobs in Warsaw and New York and then studied at the fine arts academy in Paris from 1920 to 1922. In 1922 he moved to Berlin where in 1924 he opened a studio specialising in advertising and industrial photography. He worked as a photo journalist from 1925 to 1928, produced montages with Umbo between 1926 and 1928 and for Walter Ruttman’s film Berlin as well as theatre work for Erwin Piscator. He opened a studio in Brussels in 1931. Köhn, Eckhardt (Ed.), Sasha Stone, Fotografien 1925-1939, Nishen, Berlin, 1990. Umbo (Otto Umbehr) (Düsseldorf, 1902 – 1980) studied at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1923 and then worked alongside Sasha Stone producing photomontages for Walter Ruttman’s film Berlin. He worked as a photo journalist and portrait photographer from 1926 and was a founding member of the Agentur Dephot (German stock photography agency) in 1928. He was a freelance photographer and photo journalist from 1933 and his photo archives were destroyed in a bomb attack in 1943. He later worked as a photographer for the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hannover and as a photography teacher from 1948. Molderings, Herbert, Umbo: Otto Umbehr 1902-1980, Richter Verlag,

The History of European Photography (1900 – 2000)  

The History of European Photography (1900 – 2000)

The History of European Photography (1900 – 2000)  

The History of European Photography (1900 – 2000)

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