With the handy and affordable compact cameras, there was also a veritable outbreak of photography at the Bauhaus in Dessau. Originally, photos taken at the Bauhaus were only meant for documentation or advertising purposes. But with the rapid development of the young medium and the easy to use and Thanks to a whole number of Bauhauslers who took photos of students’ works, daily life and activities in the workshops, we can today still relate to the school’s spirit of renewal and creative impetus.
Portrait of Ernst Mittag (sleeping)
Etel Fodor-Mittag followed in her photographic portraits she made starting in 1929 the extreme perspectives of the New Vision, which was at its height around this period.
Photographic study with toy pistol and sugar cubes
As early as 1928, a year before the photography course started, Fodor-Mittag was already taking her first semi-professional shots, including an ironic still life in which a toy pistol is firing three sugar cubes towards a glass of water.
Feather, Study from Peterhans' class at the Bauhaus in Berlin
A photo from Horacio Coppola’s Bauhaus period is a detailed shot of a feather placed on a kind of cotton material. The curving structure of the feather and the firm lighting and exposure of its downy texture create an association with perfect softness and safety.
Horacio Coppola's photographs are direct results of Walter Peterhans’s teaching: still lifes that analyse various textiles and textures, placing them in unexpected combinations, supplemented with ironical titles. In the photograph ‘Winter Help’, dating from 1932, Coppola brings together essential clothing items for the cold season creating a kind of portrait.
Advertising image for Indanthren-Farben
This photograph was selected by the I.G. Farben company and published in a magazine as an advertising image while Etel Fodor-Mittag was still a student at the Bauhaus.
Dead Hare (Still Life with Foil)
Walter Peterhans’ lessons focused on the technical, chemical and optical-physical aspects of the medium of photography, knowledge of which he considered essential for the realisation of truly creative work.
Telly, Portrait of a Girl
Staged like a still life, the photograph displays few of the traits of a portrait, but rather focusses on the play of light and shadow on the various surfaces and structures as well as the idiosyncratic contrast between the suppleness of the hair and the stiffness of the fabric strips.
The wallpaper designs produced by Bauhaus member Elsa Thiemann were surprisingly dark, heavy and ornamental by contrast.
Jump over the Bauhaus, Dessau
Carried away with enthusiasm for the game of football, two Bauhäusler, Xanti Schawinsky and erich Consemüller, powerfully crash into each other with the Bauhaus Building as a backdrop. The law of gravity seems to have been revoked as the plate camera’s shutter release was activated.
For his self-portrait of 1932, Herbert Bayer drew on surrealism and experimented with unconventional perspectives and cutouts.
Self-Portrait in the Bathroom Mirror of the Master’s House in Dessau
Ise Gropius’s intently modern eye is also seen in photographs by her that have survived. Many of the photos can no longer be clearly attributed either to her or her husband, however the self-portraits are clearly by her.
Self-Portrait in Profile
The technology of the self-portrait in the photogram was László Moholy-Nagy’s invention, which he also called “cameraless photography”.
Reflecting Light Games
Together with Josef Hartwig, Kurt Schwerdtfeger constructed an illuminated apparatus with various cardboard shapes that could be moved in front of it by hand as a contribution to the Lantern Festival in July of 1922. The result was abstract patterns formed by the shadows on a transparent projection surface.
Portrait of Ellen Auerbach
Walter Peterhans’ influence on his student is unmistakable in her photographic work. Whereas Peterhans’s portraits of women almost exclusively show vulnerable, delicate beings, Stern often presents her women as self-aware, but no less feminine for that
Members of the Bauhaus Band with Oskar Schlemmer
It was photos like the one of the members of the Bauhaus band that brought Lux Feininger worldwide fame. They convey vitality 'joie de vivre' and enjoyment of the arts, as well as the fashionable taste of the time.
Mask Portrait No. 13, Dessau
In contrast to earlier photographs and most of the photos produced at the Bauhaus around the same period, Gertrud Arndt’s self-portraits are not experiments with extreme perspectives or detailed views, but rather early pioneering examples of the kind of self-dramatization also seen in the work of Cindy Sherman.
Marcel Breuer and his 'Harem'
Erich Consemüller’s photo once again reflects the modern basic feeling and relaxed fun that were characteristic of the Bauhaus.
After completing her studies, Elsa Thiemann worked as a professional photographer and commercial graphic artist. Her specialties included the so-called puzzle pictures that she produced for various journals. In extreme close-ups, everyday objects become defamiliarized into indefinable art objects.
Extension of the Preller Building, Dessau
The student residence machine in Edmund Collein’s photo collage is L-shaped. This 'extension of the Preller Building', as he jokingly called it, was his view of the effects of the constant inflow of more and more new students at the Bauhaus.
Double Portrait of Alfred and Gertrud Arndt, Probstzella
Gertrud Arndt joined the Bauhaus weaving workshop in 1924 and continued to take photographs on a self-taught basis as well. Her way of looking at subjects developed from that of a rigid, purely illustrative type of documentary photography towards the experimental approach used in the New Vision.
The Masters on the Roof of the Bauhaus Studio Building in Dessau
The teaching staff of the Bauhaus is gathered on the roof of the new school building. Both the setting of photograph and the composition of the people portrayed is exemplary for the new era that began in Dessau.
Insight into the Engine Room of the Columbus of the Norddt. Lloyd
Ise Gropius once again demonstrates her trained eye: she deliberately guides the viewer’s attention to the formal language dominated by technology, in accordance with the contemporary New Vision.
View onto the Terrace of the Bauhaus Canteen, Dessau
Irene Bayer’s pictures of Bauhaus members and their everyday life at the revolutionary art college scintillate with the spirit of a dawning new era and joy in life prevailing there.
Portrait of the Beloved
Without the meaningful title the observer would marvel at a masterfully photographed still life with a distinctly feminine aura, artfully arranged in the base of a ceramic bowl. However, the title lifts the work out of the material world and releases a flood of associations.
Bauhaus Scene, Dessau
In 1926, Consemüller was commissioned by Gropius to document in photographs the products and endeavours of the Bauhaus.
New Bauhaus Building, Balconies on the Preller Building, Dessau
The acutely angled view from below of the balconies on the studio building in the Dessau Bauhaus complex was a favourite motif. Irene Bayer’s photograph served as a model for Herbert Bayer’s designer’s eye here, and it is an outstanding example of their collaboration.
Bauhaus Canteen, Dessau
Ivana Tomljenović-Meller photographs at the Bauhaus are documents of the "New Vision" - one of the most popular avantgarde movements of the 1920s and 30s, whose leaders, László Moholy-Nagy and Alexander Rodchenko, envisioned unfamiliar perspectives on the ordinary.