Elsa Thiemann, around 1930

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Margot Schmidt
Forks / Photo: Elsa Thiemann, around 1930

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Elsa Thiemann (-Franke) started taking photographs while attending the photography course given by Berlin photographer Walter Peterhans at the Bauhaus in Dessau. In Dessau, she mainly concentrated on tasks set by Peterhans and took precisely illuminated and oriented still-life compositions, as well as portraits of her partner and later husband Hans Thiemann. On completing her studies with the Bauhaus diploma in 1931, she 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. The light source from the side causes the aligned forks to throw thick shadows, giving them the appearance of a double barbed-wire fence. Motifs such as this formed the majority of her photographic repertoire, to which she returned repeatedly during the 1930s.

[AG 2015]

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