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Portraits with a Leica

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‘Report from Exile – Photographs by Fred Stein’ is currently on show at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, continuing until June 20, 2021. The exhibition marks the first time the photographer’s portraits and cityscapes are presented in a political-historical context – whereby a primary focus is placed on the circumstances in which they were captured.

Stein (1909–1967) was a pioneer of 35mm photography. This selection of around 160 portraits, press and street photographs, spanning from the 1930s to the 1960s, retraces his evolution from a talented, self-taught photographer to one of the most important chroniclers of German-speaking exiles and émigrés – including Hannah Arendt, Willy Brandt, Bertolt Brecht, Klaus Mann, and Anna Seghers.

The fact that Stein, too, had been forced to leave his home country created a palpable connection with those he photographed. Many of his portraits have become iconic fixtures in our collective consciousness – so much so, that they are almost synonymous with the people they portray.  

LFI dedicated a Leica Classic portfolio to Fred Stein’s oeuvre in issue 2/2014, along with a book review in LFI 2/2019.

For further details visit Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin

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