Spiritualising the machine: the modernist photography of UHU magazine – Tim Satterthwaite (Visiting Lecturer, University of Brighton)

Forthcoming events at the Photography Research Centre, Birkbeck

History and Theory of Photography Research Centre

Free and open to all, at 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

This autumn we welcome at Birkbeck Professor Steve Edwards, who will be also joining the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, and look forward to two seminars on illustrated magazines:

Spiritualising the machine: the modernist photography of UHU magazine Tim Satterthwaite (Visiting Lecturer, University of Brighton)

When? Monday 24 October, 6:00-7:30pm
Where? Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

The photo-illustrated monthly UHU was at the heart of the progressive photographic culture of Weimar Germany. In a stream of articles and photo-pages in the late 1920s, UHU showcased the work of modernist photographers, such as Albert Renger-Patzsch and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, alongside the radical new perspectives of scientific and aerial photography. UHU’s modernism offered more, however, than a simple embrace of technological modernity; like the great photographic exhibitions of the period, the magazine sought a reconciliation between the rationalising forces of the machine age and the organic principles of the natural world and traditional life. This talk describes how UHU’s modernist synthesis was expressed through a unifying aesthetic of repetition and regularity. The magazine’s photographs of microscopic plant forms, aerial landscapes, and the textures of urban life, were symbolic of alternative visions of social order – the organic or technocratic principles of an ideal future society.

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