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Otto Steinert

Otto Steinert was a qualified MD, and an autodidactic photographer. Steinert was one of the founders of Fotoform, a group of photographers who represented what came to be called subjective photography. Instead of exploring physical reality, the subjective movement focused on the complex emotional states of the individual.

In the 1940s and 50s, he taught photography at the crafts school in Saarbrücken, of which he later became the principal and professor. Steinert rediscovered and developed the photographic heritage of Moholy-Nagy and the Bauhaus school, and his entire oeuvre was based on the Bauhaus ideals. He organised three major photo exhibitions under the name of Subjektive Fotografie (1951, 1954 and 1958) presenting all kinds of personal, creative photography. Steinert’s photographs are often montages incorporating dark silhouettes that appear to hover in the picture. He went on to teach at the University of Essen and compiled one of Europe’s finest collections of photography at the Museum Folkwang in Essen in the 1960s and 70s.


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