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The Absolute Realist: Collected Writings of Albert Renger-Patzsch, 1923–1967

Available November 2022

Albert Renger-Patzsch
Edited and translated by Daniel H. Magilow

A towering figure in the history of photography, Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897–1966) has come to epitomize New Objectivity, the neorealist movement in modernist literature, film, and the visual arts recognized as the signature artistic style of Germany’s Weimar Republic. Today, his images are regularly exhibited and widely considered key influences on contemporary photographers. Whether they capture geometrically intricate cacti, flooded tidal landscapes, stacks of raw materials, or imposing blast furnace towers, Renger-Patzsch’s photographs embody what his peer Hugo Sieker termed “absolute realism,” an approach predicated upon the idea that photographers have one task: to exploit the camera’s unique capacity to document with uncompromising detail.

Not only a photographer, Renger-Patzsch was also an influential and lucid writer who advocated his unique brand of uncompromising realism in almost a half century’s worth of articles, essays, lectures, brochures, and unpublished manuscripts addressing photography, technology, and modernity. Drawing on his papers at the Getty Research Institute and other archives, The Absolute Realist unites in one volume this skillful photographer’s ideas about the defining visual medium of modernity.

Daniel H. Magilow is professor of German at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

336 pages
7 x 10 inches
76 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-780-2
paperback

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Research Institute

2022