BOOK

PHOTOGRAPHY & PLACE: SEEING & NOT SEEING GERMANY AFTER 1945

 Friedrich Seidenstücker, Reste der kriegzerstörten Löwenbrücke im Tiergarten von Berlin, 1946. bpk, Berlin.

As a recording device, photography plays a unique role in how we remember places and events that happened there. This includes recording events as they happen, or recording places where something occurred before the photograph was taken, commonly referred to as aftermath photography. This book presents a theoretical and historical analysis of German photography of place after 1945. It analyses how major historical ruptures in twentieth-century Germany and associated places of trauma, memory and history affected the visual field and the circumstances of looking. These ruptures are used to generate a new reading of postwar German photography of place. The analysis includes original research on world-renowned German photographers such as Thomas Struth, Thomas Demand, Michael Schmidt, Boris Becker and Thomas Ruff as well as photographers largely unknown in the Anglophone world.

Donna West Brett, (Routledge, 2016) Available to order from: Routledge

BOOK REVIEW:

Sarah Goodrum: Rezension zu: West Brett, Donna: Photography and Place. Seeing and Not Seeing Germany After 1945. Abingdon 2016 , in: H-Soz-Kult, 16.09.2016, <www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-25814>.

"The book focuses on and theorizes images taken after the fact – of trauma, or simply of history – and “investigates how this kind of aftermath or late photography represents a dramatic rupture in the field of vision” (p. 2). The rupture in the visual field is tied, according to Brett, to the ruptures of 1945, caused by Germany’s defeat and the impact of the Holocaust, and that of 1989’s fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent German reunification. For Brett, these photographs of place tied to rupture present the viewer with a tension between seeing and unseeing – and astigmatic vision that conceals or diffuses as much as it seems to reveal (see particularly ibid., Chapter 3, p. 79).

This book gathers a fascinating collection of photographers and images, and addresses the idea of place in a way and to an extent that has not been done before in the history of German photography focused around the Cold War period and its historical roots. It offers scholars of photography, German History, and those interested in themes of memory, trauma, and landscape a useful assortment of theory and imagery and a body of discourse on these themes that contributes to the discussion of this material."

 Sarah Goodrum, BTK University of Art & Design, Berlin. http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/index.asp?id=25814&view=pdf&pn=rezensionen&type=rezbuecher

BOOK CHAPTERS

Arwed Messmer, using a print, call number BStU MfS HA IX Fo 2180 Bl. 0004. Presentation of an East German family and their West Berlin escape helpers Oliver Mierendorf and Karlheinz Hetschold after a failed smuggling attempt in an Opel Admiral car on September 21, 1973.

Arwed Messmer, using a print, call number BStU MfS HA IX Fo 2180 Bl. 0004. Presentation of an East German family and their West Berlin escape helpers Oliver Mierendorf and Karlheinz Hetschold after a failed smuggling attempt in an Opel Admiral car on September 21, 1973.

PHOTOGRAPHY, FLIGHT AND EXILE IN COLD WAR GERMANY

in Burcu Dogramaci and Elizabeth Otto, eds. Passages of Exile, Edition Text + Kritik, 2017 (forthcoming).

Ilse Bing, Self-Portrait in Mirrors, 1931, gelatin silver print, printed 1994, 21.8 x 33 cm,  National Gallery of Art, Washington. ©Estate of Ilse Bing.

Ilse Bing, Self-Portrait in Mirrors, 1931, gelatin silver print, printed 1994, 21.8 x 33 cm,  National Gallery of Art, Washington. ©Estate of Ilse Bing.

EXILE AND ERASURE: FORGETTING ILSE BING

In Kris Belden-Adams, ed. Photography and Failure: One Medium's Entanglement with Flops, Underdogs and Disappointments (Bloomsbury, 2017- forthcoming).

ann shelton, Meeting Room, Rotoroa Island, 2008

ann shelton, Meeting Room, Rotoroa Island, 2008

HOME AND HOMELESSNESS: ANN SHELTON'S AESTHETICS OF DISPLACEMENT

in Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, (Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tāmaki, NZ, 2016), 58-80.

BArch, DVH 60 Bild-GR35-10-016 /ohne Angabe. Courtesy Arwed Messmer and the German Federal Archives

BArch, DVH 60 Bild-GR35-10-016 /ohne Angabe. Courtesy Arwed Messmer and the German Federal Archives

INTERVENTIONS IN SEEING: SURVEILLANCE, CAMOUFLAGE & THE COLD WAR CAMERA

In Ann Elias, Ross Harley and Nicholas Tsoutas (Eds), Camouflage Cultures: The Art of Disappearance (University of Sydney Press, 2015), 147-157.


JOURNAL ARTICLES

thomas demand, model, 2000 COURTESY DEMAND STUDIO .

thomas demand, model, 2000 COURTESY DEMAND STUDIO .

BANALITY, MEMORY AND THE INDEX: THOMAS DEMAND & HITLER'S PHOTOGRAPHER

in Photographies 9.3 (2016): 233-249.

 

Sarah Schönfeld. Lichtung from the series Void, 2009. Courtesy the artist

Sarah Schönfeld. Lichtung from the series Void, 2009. Courtesy the artist

THE EVENT HORIZON: RETURNING AFTER THE FACT

with Ann Shelton in Memory Connection, 1.1 (2011): 335–347.

Thomas Struth, Hermannsgarten, Weissenfels 1991, © 2009 Thomas Struth.

Thomas Struth, Hermannsgarten, Weissenfels 1991, © 2009 Thomas Struth.

THE UNCANNY RETURN: DOCUMENTING PLACE IN POSTWAR GERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

in Photographies Volume 3, 2010 - Issue 1.