Author: ricardo dominguez --- Date: 3/5/97 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Zeitgeist Becomes Form

German Fashion Photography


a review

by ricardo dominguez

Will McBride,"Evi, Magda and Lapper with Vespa." (Berlin,1959).

"Fashion gives people a sense of security that religion could never offer." --Oscar Wilde

Fashion is the ideal which marks history as form and photography is a reality that re-marks the ideal as trace. To attempt to define the essence of either term is extremely difficult, and to attempt to conjoin them as a map of cultural identity is almost an impossibility. In the case of the "Zeitgeist Becomes Form," one can see brief moments that might be defined as a German style of fashion photography, a style that may be interpreted as being bound to a specific historical and geographic situation, and this occurs only at those moments when, as Walter Benjamin puts it, "the catastrophe of time ruptures the lines of historical forms."

Norbert Leonard, "Elegant next to the Volant." (Bremen,1953)

The fashion photography of Charlotte Rohrbach in "Three World Meet" (Berlin, 1949) and Norbert Leonard's style in "The Decorative Coat Collar" (Berlin, 1951), as well as his "Elegant next to the Volant" (Bremen, 1953), do create an identity out of the ruins of post-war Germany. The backgrounds are dead history, bombed out buildings and useless factories, and in the foreground the New Woman for New Germany--and all of it framed by an aesthetic realism. This German style rapidly fades by the mid-fifties and gives way to the international look--as defined by Paris.

Wolfgang Tillmans, "Lutz and Mex Holding Cock." (London,1992)

The German Zeitgeist did not re-form itself again until another rupture occured--the after effect of 1989 once more called forth a brief manifestation of identity as fashion. The style was again framed by the aesthetic realism of post-war fashion photography of history in ruins. One can sense this in the works of Olaf Martens, Jurgen Teller, and Wolfgang Tillmans. As West and East Germany spilled into one another the question of identity had to be once again mapped out, and fashion photography again answered the call with a look that would combine reality and history under the frame of style-as-hypermutation. Style as identity seems to be in the case of German history a suture to ground the ruptures of historical breaks--the zeitgeist becomes form only during cultural crisis.

Jurgen Teller, "Kristen McMenamy." (London,1994)

ricardo dominguez

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Jesta Brouns -- jesta

Does exist a catalog within all these fotos? IF, please send the price and where to order.

Elke --

Hello,my name is Elke from Vienna.I`m writing a work about some photos of Wolfgang Tillmans at the moment. Therefore I`m looking for some information about him and fashion photograhy in general.Maybe you could send me some material or at least some adresses to contact to. Thank you Ricardo,I hope to hear from you soon.




Rafael Doctor Roncero --

hola amigo. me gustaría contactar personalmente con W. tillmans. Estoy trabajando en un importante museo de españa y tengo la intención de realizar una exposición aquí sobre este autor. Me puedes ayudar? Recibe un fuerte abrazo. Rafael Doctor

marli moreau --

I want more informations about Jurgen Teller !