About

As a freelance photographer, I have thematized my own living space: the Ruhr area. In addition to commissioned works in which a positive representation of this region is required, I photograph free themes in which I want to present my own point of view. These mainly deal with the landscape.

Statement

During my studies at the Folkwangschule in Essen in the 1970s, I initially focused on photo journalism, as taught by Otto Steinert. But after only a few semesters I became enthusiastic about documentary photography, which, however, was hardly taught by this school, with one exception: Albert Renger-Patzsch. My role models came mainly from the USA, which I got to know through the Swiss photo magazine CAMERA. First and foremost: Walker Evans. The later so called "New Topographics". only influenced me after my studies. I was convinced by the thoughtful and calm approach of documentary photography, its richness of detail through the use of larger formats. In this way she has a high suitability to create historical documents and thus she has a sustainability. The occupation with my own habitat, the Ruhr area, enabled me to work more intensively and for longer periods of time. The things that I photograph meet me again and again. You could say it this way: I look at them for a long time until they show me their true faces, only then do I photograph them. And if I can't transport that onto a picture, I photograph them again until I'm satisfied. The documentary style is characterized by a restrained visual language that allows the pictorial objects to communicate in their own language. Only in this way can changes and developments be depicted in a comprehensible way over decades. Since I have been involved with this form of photography, the ability of photography to convey reality has often been questioned in art and media theoretical discussions. These discussions were good and necessary, but in my opinion they were often too general rather than related to concrete works. I am convinced that, under certain conditions, the viewer can recognize whether the photographer is trying to mediate a reality he perceives or whether he rather wants to put the subjective first. It can work if the photographic work is in a clear context or if the photographer and the recipient meet on a common level of pictorial language. In the course of this discussion, the concept of documentary photography has also been shaken. Personally, I would like to maintain it as a term for a style, but I don't mind replacing it with the more modern term "environmental photography", which of course has the advantage of better meeting the content. Of course, my pictures should also be a subjective statement. Without this subjective moment, documentary photography would be bloodless and would not differ from documentary photography. Christoph Schaden describes my style as "poetic realism". That makes me feel well understood.

Education

  • 1972 - 1977 | "Visuelle Kommunikation, Schwerpunkt Fotografie" Gesamthochschule Essen (ehem. Folkwangschule), Essen (DE)
  • 1971 | "Fotopraktikum" bei Karl-Hugo Schmölz (Architekturfotograf), Köln (DE)
  • 1971- 1972 | "Fotografenausbildung" Foto-Privatschule Marta Hoepffner, Kressbronn am Bodensee (DE)

Institution (Work Experience)

  • 1978 - 1980 | Festanstellung als Fotograf, Presse- und Informationsamt der Stadt Essen, Essen (DE)

Selected Exhibitions/Publications

  • Ausstellungen / Exhibitions:
  • 2015 | Museum für Photographie, Braunschweig (DE)
  • 2014 | Zeche Zollverein, Stiftung Zollverein, Essen (DE)
  • 2014 | L.A. Galerie, Frankfurt / Main (DE)
  • 2011 | Westfälisches Industriemuseum, Dortmund (DE)
  • 1999 | Rheinisches Industriemuseum, Oberhausen (DE)
  • 1979 | Museum Folkwang, Essen (DE)
  • Publikationen / Publications:
  • 2014 | Monographie "Das Gebiet", Kettler Verlag (DE)
  • 2014 | "Von dieser Welt", Kettler Verlag (DE)

Personal Website

http://www.joschumacherfotografie.de

Galleries

Joachim Schumacher | Urban Landscape Ruhr Area (1976 - 1994)

Joachim Schumacher | Urban Landscape Ruhr Area (1976 - 1994)

Black and white photographs from my exam thesis (1976-77), which was conceived as an open project and other free works until 1994. While I earned my living by advertising the Ruhr area after my studies, these photographs were meant to represent my own view of the Ruhr area. They stand for what moved, impressed and also made me suffer as a person who lived in this landscape. (Photographing the attractive Ruhr area was also worthwhile and important to me, otherwise, I would have had the feeling not to treat the Ruhr area fair.)

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Joachim Schumacher | Finally like everywhere else? (1985)

Joachim Schumacher | Finally like everywhere else? (1985)

In 1985, 10 photographers photographed the Ruhr area. The project "At last as everywhere?" was initiated and led by Ute Eskildsen, then director of the photographic collection at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, and was financed by the Krupp Foundation. I took on the part of the landscape. In many of the pictures in this work, the thematic emphasis is on the modernisation of the Ruhr area, which at the same time means the loss of its identity. The Ruhr myth is gradually disappearing.

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Joachim Schumacher | Urban Landscape Ruhr Area (2000 - 2019)

Joachim Schumacher | Urban Landscape Ruhr Area (2000 - 2019)

Colour photographs, which were created as free works. I see them as a thematic continuation of my black-and-white works. It was only when the archive stability of the color processes and materials was considerably improved that I was able to decide to take color photographs in my documentary photography. My main focus is on 2 aspects: Firstly, I try to track down a typical Ruhr area milieu that only exists in remnants. It is most likely to be found in neglected parts of the city. I am fascinated by the many time levels that are deposited in a picture like sediments. The second aspect is, so to speak, the opposite: It is precisely the banality of the new that interests me, but which also hurts because it points out that the theme of the Ruhr, which has fascinated many generations of photographers, is slowly exhausted.

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Joachim Schumacher | Birch and Fallow Land (2015 - 2018)

Joachim Schumacher | Birch and Fallow Land (2015 - 2018)

Colour photographs, dealing with the birch groves on the industrial wastelands of the Ruhr area (sites of disused mines, steelworks, freight stations). This work is a tribute to the modest trees that pioneer the industrial wastelands. They prepare the ground for a species-rich forest. Often the fallow land, which has been left to itself for years, is used again because there is a shortage of arable land.

Format:

gallery