Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Monika Faber, Astrid Mahler.
German scientist and photographer Heinrich Kühn (1866-1944) was one of the central figures in the establishment of international art photography at the turn of the twentieth century. Having studied botany and medicine, Kühn made his first photograph in the late 1870s, dedicating himself solely to the medium within a decade. He achieved this dedication through the support of American photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and others. After a meeting in 1904, Stieglitz and Kühn initiated an almost 30-year-long correspondence, ushering in an era of pioneering experimentation with autochrome and other photographic processes. Critical to Kühn's success was an offset process he perfected, which allowed him to deliberately dissolve the sharpness of the image and alter its brightness. The results are gorgeous, dreamy images full of rich, delicate color. Around 1910, Kühn reduced the romantic cosmos of Pictorialism to the point where his compositions became almost abstract, so that only the study of light and the rendering of tonal values mattered. He later returned to exploring the photograph as objective record, concentrating mainly on writing and to experiments in photographic technology. This landmark volume surveys the works of a revelatory photographer.