40th anniversary of the photo agency laif in Cologne

40 positions of documentary photography - produced in part by WhiteWall | ©David Klammer (laif).

To mark the 40th anniversary of the Cologne-based photo agency laif, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln (MAKK) is showing an exhibition of 40 positions of documentary and journalistic photography from 1981 to 2021.

The positions are all assigned to a year between the founding of laif in 1981 and today. They were either created, prominently published, exhibited or won an important award in the respective year. They represent what the agency stands for and at the same time depict the diversity and development of documentary and journalistic photography from 1981 to 2021.

Exhibition hall of the Museum für Angwandte Kunst Köln (MAKK) - ©David Klammer (laif).

In addition to the positions that were printed and hung as newspaper, all other photographs were produced by WhiteWall.

Gallery wall (MAKK) - ©David Klammer (laif).

The exhibition opened on March 12 and can be seen at the MAKK until September 25.

Gallery wall (MAKK) - ©David Klammer (laif).

About the exhibition:

In their works, the photographers selected by curator Peter Bialobrzeski, together with Peter Bitzer and Manfred Linke, reflect on the world through its conflicts and fault lines, but also show how art and solidarity connect people. Furthermore, the works reflect the aesthetic development of documentary photography from the 1980s until today. With the help of the presentation developed by Berlin-based designer Sarah Fricke, 40 years of contemporary history come to life.

"Whereas the photographers of the first hour still dealt with the protests against nuclear power, rearmament and airport expansions in a classic, black-and-white manner and very close to the events, color photography came to the fore in the 1990s, analogous to the technical reproduction possibilities of the press," says Peter Bialobrzeski.

The exhibition, arranged chronologically, is introduced by the works of two of the agency's co-founders, Manfred Linke and Günter Beer, followed by artistic documentary image-text works on people at the Berlin Wall by Bettina Flitner (1990). Katharina Bosse's work "Surface Tension" often portrays women around the world (1997), while Michael Lange presents an experimental work about Los Angeles, photographed on black-and-white Polaroid slide film, which can be read as an homage to "film noir" (1999).

In "The Third Day," Henrik Spohler documents in a cool, distanced way, with high visual quality, how the agricultural industry grows food worldwide today (2012). Sandra Hoyn visits a brothel in Bangladesh and shares the fate of the women and girls there (2015). At the end, the circle closes and the photographers turn their gaze back to Germany. Hannes Jung delivers a reportage on the New Right with an almost demagogic effect (2017), while Andreas Herzau presents his long-term work on Chancellor Merkel in subjectively combined image excerpts for the first time as a complete book in 2018. In 2019, David Klammer becomes a permanent chronicler of the resistance against the logging of the Hambach Forest. Finally, in 2020, the young Ingmar Björn Nolting crisscrosses Germany and creates a unique, rightly multiple award-winning testimony to the Corona crisis. The year 2021 concludes with the flood disaster in the west of the country.

All information can also be found on the laif website: https://makk.de/40-Jahre-laif

Gallery wall (MAKK) - ©David Klammer (laif).

The exhibition was produced with these WhiteWall products