Spanning 14 chapters, the exhibition 'Eyes Wide Open! – 100 Years of Leica Photography' addresses aspects of small format photography, ranging from journalistic strategies to documentary approaches and free artistic positions. It is the first time an exhibition attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of the ground-breaking effect the invention of the Leica had on the medium of photography. Instead of merely illustrating the camera's history, the exhibition addresses the visual revolution brought about by this technological innovation. It explores the ways in which our overall photographic vision was changed by the introduction of the Leica, whilst posing questions as to how small format photography influenced the work of amateurs, artists and photojournalists.
The system camera with its range of interchangeable lenses opened up entirely new photographic possibilities. These are investigated along with the ways in which established themes were now approached differently – based on a new perception of reality through the Leica viewfinder.
Around 500 photographs – as well as documentary materials such as newspapers, magazines, books, advertising material, brochures, camera prototypes and films - recount the history of small format photography from its beginnings to the present day.
Curated by Hans-Michael Koetzle, the exhibition includes the works of internationally renowned Leica photographers (Alexander Rodtschenko, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Christer Strömholm, Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson, William Klein, Sergio Larrain, William Eggleston, René Burri, Thomas Höpker, Bruce Gilden, Alex Webb) along with images by amateurs, as well as artists not ordinarily associated with small format photography.
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