In an article about a show in Boston, the Boston Globe writes “Deadpan photography often feels as if it’s presenting evidence or specimens, rigorously and dispassionately recorded, to study types, structures, forms.The inspiration for this can be seen in ‘Contemporary Outlook: German Photography’”. Is German photography Sander plus the Bechers and their students?
It brings emotion to the viewer, and it evokes warm feelings in us.Compare this with what photography did until the 70s, when it usually “showed the world” (large parts of which many of us had not seen before in real life).Today, as everybody appears to have “been there, seen that”, photography often demands more interpretation, questioning and doubting from the viewer.Also, for everything that might be less or not familiar for non-German readers there are brief explanations, again in parentheses.Jörg Colberg: If you were to believe what is being reported a lot, German photography can be equated with the “deadpan” style.
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They were the only Germans in the show, maybe due to good relations between the US-American and West German art worlds.If you looked at the German scene at that time, photography had almost no role in the art world.And if one looks at those many different styles, movements, fashions and schools one has to say that “Sander plus the Bechers plus students” is indeed at least one of those styles, which is certainly very well received, represented and promoted in the art world, and which can be seen in almost any group show on contemporary photography worldwide (and that can be a little boring).But that focus means just as much as if equating in the last century “American Photography” with, for example, “Evans plus Frank plus Adams”, something it in reality never was.And if not, how is it possible that such an idea has become so prevalent?
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