Otto Steinert

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‘Lalage’ by Otto Steinert, 1952.

In original condition, with minor wear consistent with age and use, preserving a beautiful patina.
Some stains from the developer.

Otto Steinert (1915-1978) was born in Saarbrücken, Germany. He lived and worked in Saarbrücken and Essen. Was photographer that experimented with form and technique to explore photography as a mode of personal expression.

Steinert was a teacher, curator, and collector as well as a practicing photographer. In the 1950s he organized a series of touring group exhibitions entitled Subjective Photography. He wanted to examine the more personal approach to photography that, he believed, had become more prominent since the Second World War. Earlier movements had begun to establish photography as an art form. Steinert placed a new emphasis on the photographer’s own creativity. He outlined how a series of creative decisions -from choice of equipment, to perspective, to printing techniques- could allow the subject to assume a new meaning or significance. Coming from a background in medicine, Steinert lacked formal training in photography and his approach was unbound by convention. This display of works from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s demonstrates the range of experimental techniques that he used to explore the potential of the medium beyond straightforward representation. These include use of contrast and toning to emphasize contour and texture, movement of the camera with long exposure times to record trails of light, and arrangement of graphic shapes directly onto photographic paper.

The contrasted copies, the adjusted framing, the abstract structures, the situations that produce a surreal effect, the negative copies and the solarizations, was the means of fundamental expression for Steinert and his disciples who drank from sources such as Man Ray or Moholy-Nagy.