The photography of Albert Renger-Patzsch

April 14, 2014

Albert Renger-Patzsch’s “Life Is Beautiful" published in 1928 is one of the most pivotal photographic books ever produced. He is often over-looked or forgotten as a pioneering photographer because of the huge abundance of prolific photographers coming out of Germany. He had a great compositional eye but also had extremely progressive thoughts for his time which could still be considered contemporary today: “The secret of a good photograph—which, like a work of art, can have esthetic qualities—is its realism ... Let us therefore leave art to artists and endeavor to create, with the means peculiar to photography and without borrowing from art, photographs which will last because of their photographic qualities,”.Renger-Patzsch is equally influential upon German photography as August Sander, if not more so. His industrial landscapes can clearly be seen as a precursor to the Becher’s work. Similarly his documents of shops can still be seen as a very direct influence to artists such as Andreas Gursky. Renger-Patzsch’s capability to treat the photographic medium in a unique manner as well as document the world in a highly informed manner make his works pivotal to the advancement of photography. 

Text written by Cole Tracy