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

History and Theory of Photography Research Centre Autumn 2016

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

 

Monday 24 October, 6:00-7:30pm

Room 106

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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