Manfred Hamm // The legend of German photography
PART I: INTERIORS // INNENANSICHTEN
The Charron gallery presents Manfred Hamm’s photographs from his series Bibiothèques, Salles de Concert and Bourses. A “Pioneer and master of architectural photography” according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Manfred Hamm became famous with his shots of industrial buildings looking like snapshots of a contemporary archaeology in which humanity has disappeared – “the ancient sites of tomorrow”. Manfred Hamm doesn’t like digital photography because for him the magic doesn’t happen that way. His secret, his “Plaubel” camera and his lifelong friend, patience. A photographic work in search of aestheticism, extreme sharpness, perfectly lit and carefully framed with breathtaking precision. His photographic work is a documentary like an “ethnologist” would have done. “I always wanted to be an ethnologist”, Manfred Hamm confides, “but one of my teachers dissuaded me from it because I was too romantic”. So he immortalises some of society’s landmark public places. The photographer translates the amplitude of these spaces, which are by nature immense, by using both the strength of colour and the rigour of axial perspective in his pictures. The locations of the photographs presented at Galerie Charron are emptied of all human existence and photographed from inside the building. This leads us to reconsider these “pieces of architecture” outside of any human activity, or even their usual function. This focus on the bowels of the buildings thus allows us to see a renewed vision of architecture, highlighting the internal structure of the premises, with an aesthetic and self-sufficient perception of architecture. Manfred Hamm put an end to his photographic work when Kodak abandoned the production of these films, which were so dear to him and allowed him to create a photographic depth never achieved with any other film.