Greetings Photoion students and photography fans and welcome to another entry in our Masters of Photography series, where we look at the life and work of some of the most prolific and inspirational photographers of the last 100 years.
This week we will be focusing on Albert Renger-Patzsch, who was famous as one of Germany’s leading figures in New Objectivity photography.
Renger-Patzsch began taking photographs at a very early age. By twelve he was already experimenting with the camera.
He took a break from his passion to serve in World War I, but after the war, he followed his creative path and became a press photographer for the Chicago Tribune.
Renger-Patzsch is best known for his work in New Objectivity. The purpose of New Objectivity was to present things in a more documentary style, without the effects and tricks of the photography that had preceded it.
His most famous work, Die Welt ist schön (The World is Beautiful), is a collection of hundreds of images of mundane and industrial items. The way in which he captured his subjects with his lens is often reminiscent of a scientific diagram. Every image is crisp, and the subject is clearly visible and presented.
Very few of Renger-Patzsch’s images use filters or other effects on “enhance” the image. Instead, he focused on shape, light, and texture to enhance the interesting parts of his subject, which he photographed as clearly as possible.
But just because Renger-Patzsch’s images looked to present the subject in a matter-of-fact way, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot to digest in his images and a lot to learn. Capturing any subject with such clarity is no easy feat, and requires careful consideration of position, framing, and lighting.
That is why even after close to a century, people are still finding inspiration from Albert Renger-Patzsch.