DR. PAUL WOLFF
A Photographer’s Career under National Socialism
On February 19, 2017, Dr. Paul Wolff would have turned 130 years old. Wolff was known worldwide especially for his pictures and books from the 1930s and 1940s. His position as one of the most successful photographers of the so called Third Reich has repeatedly been the subject of heated debate due to the general politicization of that period. A recently discovered portfolio from around 1933/34 represents a significant new source, which testifies not only to the photographer’s multifaceted pictorial repertoire but also to his strategic self-promotion. It will be shown that Wolff selectively used stylistic ambivalences to reach as broad a market as possible, while at the same time demonstrating a clear political affinity. The portfolio exemplifies Wolff’s marketing strategies, which also generally reflect the aspects of modern design. The example of Dr. Paul Wolff shows that photography was an important component of National Socialist cultural politics, but also that this topic is still underestimated by researchers.
Gotthard Schuh as NZZ Picture Editor
The significance of the photographer Gotthard Schuh (1897–1969) in the Swiss photography scene of the 1950s and 1960s and his relationship with individual photographers has been the subject of growing interest especially in recent years. Hisearly photography reportages and photo books, his relationships with other photographers such as Robert Frank, as well as the role of the Kollegium Schweizerischer Fotografie (Council of Swiss Photography), of which Schuh was co-founder, were investigated. This article focuses on Schuh’s activities at the ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’, a daily newspaper with a weekly pictorial supplement (which was discontinued a few years ago), for which Schuh had been the picture editor since 1941. It also looks at the Swiss photo magazine ‘Camera’, which, especially in the 1940s and 1950s, was an important forum for Swiss photographers.
ON THE PURE LUCK OF A COMPREHENSIVE ESTATE
Peter H. Fürst and his ‘Conventional’ Portraits
The Cologne-based fashion and beauty photographer Peter H. Fürst donated the three portrait series ‘Cologne Personalities. 70 Photographs’ (1987), ‘Appointed and Elected’ (1992), and ‘Photographs from the Cultural World of Cologne’ (1995) to the Rheinisches Bildarchiv of the City of Cologne in 2002 and 2014. The donations of these photographic portraits, which were made independently of his commissioned work, include enlargements, films, and contact sheets as well as further materials, which, in their completeness, allow for immediate access to Fürst’s creative process as well as to the works themselves. Concepts, correspondence, press releases and articles, as well as minutes of the portrait sessions document not only the photographic processes but also Fürst’s occupation with current photo theoretical works.
MAN AS AN ‘OPTIMIZABLE IMAGE’
Karl Schenkers’ glamorous portraits at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne
With the exhibition ‘Master of Beauty. Karl Schenker’s Glamorous Images’, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne devoted a first comprehensive retrospective to the photographer Karl Schenker (1886–1954). The occasion for the reinvolvement with Karl Schenker’s work was the acquisition of some 100 portraits from an estate. The exhibition showed numerous glamorous women’s portraits of the 1910s and 1920s, advertising shots, sober fashion photographs of the 1930s, studies from the nude, but also Schenker’s photographs of wax figures. The photographic prints were supplemented by postcards, magazines, albums and other materials. In the catalogue, the first comprehensive monograph on this photographer, Karl Schenker’s biography as well as the study of his work is examined from different research perspectives.