To what extent do photographs capture or convey reality? Why is it that a photograph can affect the viewer on such a deep and profound level?
The German cultural scientist Helmut Lethen examines these questions in his publication Der Schatten des Fotografen (The photographer's shadow).
Icons of history
As Lethen embarks on an exploration of art and media in the 20th century, he illustrates how photographs such as Robert Capa's picture of the Normandy Landing become symbols of history; he traces the performances of Marina Abramovic, delves into the playful symbolism of Bruce Nauman, and reveals a dreaded sense of isolation in apparently idyllic images.
A School of Seeing
Lethen's book provides us with a School of Seeing in confusing times. Der Schatten des Fotografen has won the Leipzig Book Fair Award in the categories of Non-Fiction and Essay Writing. The prize-giving will take place at the Book Fair in Leipzig on the 13 March.
Helmut Lethen, Der Schatten des Fotografen, 272 pages, Rowohlt Publishing, 2014. Language: German
Further information at Rowohlt