Photographer of Objectivity
Photographs and selected writings by a pioneer of twentieth-century photography and a master of the New Objectivity.
Albert Renger-Patzsch, together with August Sander and Karl Blossfeldt, was one of the undisputed pioneers of twentieth-century German photography. Indeed, what Sander achieved in portrait photography and Blossfeldt in plant photography, Renger-Patzsch achieved in his renderings of objects and the material world. As a protagonist of the movement that came to be known as Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), he wanted to record, phenomenologically as it were, the exact appearance of objects—their form, material, and surface. Thus he rejected any kind of artistic claim for himself. Believing that the photographer should strive to capture the "essence of the object," he called for documentation rather than art.
Renger-Patzsch's most famous work was the 1928 photo album Die Welt ist SchÃn (The World Is Beautiful), a catalog of objects that became one of the most influential photography books ever published. His cool and clinical photographs, with their details of technical apparatus, industrial products, and natural organisms, were models of a new kind of artistic vision.This book contains not only the canonical "Icons of New Objectivity" series—the famous still lifes of Jena glassware, rows of flatirons at a shoe factory, industrial objects, and more—but also Renger-Patzsch's lesser-known but no less engaging photographs of landscapes, architecture, urban scenes, and studies of trees and stones. The book also contains a biography, a bibliography, critical commentary by Thomas Janzon, and selected writings of Renger-Patzsch appearing in English for the first time.