Published by Spector Books. Text by Eugen Blume. Translation by Catherine Nichols.
This series of still-life photographs by Manfred Paul was produced while the GDR still existed. As photographs, they go beyond the general symbols of still life; they are time doubly frozen: just as fish, leaves, and branches become frozen at the bottom of a lake, petrified in clear ice before the first snowfall, so the still life — a life without time — remains suspended, for as long as the picture’s materiality can withstand the ravages of time. Things are abandoned, with apparent carelessness — a bunch of tulips in a glass vase wilts in infinite beauty, their black-and-white sharpness emitting an almost painful appeal against the transience and replaceability of the blooms. In their irredeemable alienation they inevitably become a devotional mental image of human existence.
Published by Spector Books. Text by Hubertus van Amelunxen.
Manfred Paul is one of the main exponents of 'auteur photography', and as a teacher he opened the eyes of several generations of photographers and designers. The work En passant was created in passing in the period from 1986 to 1990 in East Berlin. It consists of severely cropped black-and-white pictures of women’s legs, which only reveal the lower half of the person portrayed: from the waist down, and sometimes only from the knee. They are all elegant, at times even glamorous, which leads us to indulge in further speculation about the women. The images observe a strict photographic language, as developed by the artists of the Neues Sehen movement a hundred years ago. However, Paul’s series can be clearly dated to the East Berlin of the 1980s — this is indicated by small details, such as broken cobblestone surfaces, sheer tights with a relatively coarse weave, or a characteristic style of shoe typical of that period.