PHOTOGRAPHY & PLACE: SEEING & NOT SEEING GERMANY AFTER 1945
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
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
LOOKING AND FEELING: PHOTOGRAPHING ESCAPE FROM EAST GERMANY
in Burcu Dogramaci and Elizabeth Otto, eds. Passages of Exile (Munich: Edition Text + Kritik 35, 2017), 268-285. LINK
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), 45-60. LINK
INTERVENTIONS IN SEEING: SURVEILLANCE, CAMOUFLAGE & THE COLD WAR CAMERA