Jäger und Sammler.
Haus der Photographie, Hamburg
9 December 2017
The reasons for taking a closer look at America are obvious for the Friends of Hamburg’s Haus der Photographie: the election of the president, Alec Soth’s first solo exhibition held at the Haus der Photographie and Magnum Photos’ 70th birthday, are all good reasons to engage with America’s visual world, within the framework of a symposium.
One of the United States’ talents is to convey its culture visually. Hollywood’s success through visualising the American Dream and targeted marketing of its cultures resulted in worldwide recognition and the association connotations of certain motifs. A frequently used stylistic device is the staging and demonstrating everyday encounters and situations.
This technique is also used away from the mainstream. The American, Alec Soth, member of Magnum Photos, is an example of this. He sees photography as a documentation of a performance of everyday scenes.
The international, democratically structured photographic agency, Magnum Photos, founded in Paris in 1947, developed what was seen at the time as a new ethic for photography and journalism. It is characterised by the photographer's striving for independence, humanism and respect for photographed worlds.
Amongst other things, the symposium will look at the question of where is the use of American motifs and who interprets them. Invited to answer these questions is Max Ernst Stockburger, the Berlin-based photographer, who travelled to Japan on a quest for American images. Elke Grittmann, Professor for Media and Society at the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences will give a talk on the culture of images in American politics. The guest of honour is the Californian photographer Carolyn Drake, who is also a member of Magnum Photos. As the title of her long-term project suggests, “Diary of American Looking”, she examines how the United States are represented visually.