The ZFF showed the American documentary photographer Louis Faurer for the first time in Germany under the direction of Henner Merle and photographer Hendrik Rauch.
Louis Faurer was born in 1916 as Louis Fourer in Philadelphia. Faurer’s father, a musician, had great difficulties adjusting to his new home in America. He failed to establish himself in his field of study and ended up working as a presser in a large bleaching factory. Faurer’s mother picke up work for a shady bookmaker.
In the 30’s he started getting involved in photography and purchased a used Kodak camera from a buddy at school. His interest for photography continued to grow, especially after he won first-prize in a photography contest held by the local newspaper. He began an intensive self-taught course and was especially influenced by the pictures from Walke Evans who he would later identify as one of his role models.
During World War II Faurer served 3 years in his hometown as a photograph technician for the US Army. From 1945 he often travelled between Philidelphia and New York in order to assignments from magazines.
At this point Faurer had found his own style, although Faurer and Frank strongly influenced each other’s works. The late 40’s were especially important in Faurer’s development and some of his most impressive pieces, for example the night shots of Times Square, were taken in this period.
Faurer’s post war photography was influenced by his critical outlook on the materialistic values of the Eisenhower era. The repetition of the presence of an automobile in his photos represents the mindset of a society that defines its value by material possession. This was a critical, unpopular and uncomfortable position in a period where the existence of an impoverished and out-of-luck lower class was hardly acknowledged. Similar to the photographer Diane Arbus who came along years later, he dedicated a large amount of his work to societies underdogs, beggars and the crippled. With his skeptical perspective It’s not difficult to see why Faurer’s photos never received any acknowledgement outside of the industry. Many of his pictures radiate a strong imaginary power and seem like fictional moments. His world of photography consists of the streets and the people of New York. The photographs often taken by night are reminiscent of scenes from a film noir.
In a technical sense, Faurer’s photography belongs to the best of this era. Especially his black & white and color night stills that were mostly lit only by the lighted signage proved his impressive craftsmanship and talent.
The exhibition in Berlin exhibited photography from Philadelphia and New York from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.
»Photography from New York«
07.02. – 27.03.1998
»Fotografien aus New York«
07.02. – 27.03.1998