New Visions – The Avant-Gardes and After
Germany: The Weimar Republic
German photographic production of the twenties expanded into new fields of application and market outlets.
August Sander accepted commissions from the industry stemmed in part with the ‘Weltanshauung’ then undergoing transformations which regarded technical progress as holding the seeds of a better society.
Photography was more than a simply medium through which to prove the existence of this ‘new world’ of architecture and industry, with all its new products and new means of production; it was a technical process increadingly used in new, expanding markets andit thus became an item of merchandise with a thousand possible applications.
Photography’s new clients included editors of illustrated magazines, designers and industrial business.
Germany enjoyed a relative economic stability in the 20’s; first due to the London Convention in 1924 when revised the German monetary system and securing reparation payments in accordance with the Dawes Plan. During this phase of relative stability, Germany was able to regain a footing in the fields it used to dominate, such as the chemical and the electrotechnical industries.
‘The export offensive rested to a large extent upon the activity of large concerns such as I.G., Farben, Siemens, AEG … in which a large measure of economic power was concentrated’. By the mid twenties this power was reinforced by concentrations of capital. The mergers that took place engendered concentrations of interests and alliances with other branches of industry with banks.
Industry businessman helped contemporary artists by giving them advertising work. The photograph was utilised as an element of montage, as a photogram, or as a documentary shot in their advertising work.
The following business made use of photography to produce advertisement: Kaffee-Handel AG, Breme (Kaffee Hag), Gunter Wagner Hanovre (Pelikan) Bahlsen, Hanover (Bahlsen Kekse), Rosenberg and Hertz, Cologne (Forma Miederwaren (Forma Corsets, and Bochumer Verein, Bochum (Bergbau und Gusstahlfabrikation (mining industry and cast steel manufacturing).
Max Burchartz, El Lissitzky, Richard Errell, Albert Renger-Patzstch and Maurice Tabard all worked in advertising photography.
Max Burchartz also a designer, painter and photographer wrote about advertising techniques. ‘The basic principle of advertising is invariably one of an active willing, using paricular methods of suggestion, all of which proceed in fundamentally the same fashion, in order to guide other wills -in fact, the greatest possible number of wills- towards a particular well-defined action .. “