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Archival Item Of The Month | December 2021

Dear Klaus, dear Günter

Digital birthday wishes to two of our long-time members: Klaus Kammerichs on his 88th (on December 1) and Günter Hildenhagen on his 86th (on December 14).

Both have been members of the Academy for 46 years, both appointed in 1975, in the middle of the decade when photography began to entry into collections and museums. Within the colliding discussions of the GDL about the outmodedness of traditional criteria and understandings of artistic photography and the simultaneous call for rejuvenation of the members, very different positions were appointed with them.

Klaus Kammerichs had produced his first photo sculptures just one year earlier (1974) as a "kinetic interpretation of space, time and movement" and was already a professor of photography and audiovisual media at the then Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences. In 1988 he designed the David Octavius Hill Medal - naturally as a photo sculpture. In 1994 it was awarded to him himself.

Günter Hildenhagen was to take his perhaps best-known series of pictures a year later (1976). He had been working as a freelance photojournalist since 1965 and had specialized in social issues early on. At a deaconry facility for physically and mentally handicapped people, he portrayed the residents, including Mehri, a deaf-mute Iranian, and his friend, Karlheinz, a spastic paraplegic. Hildenhagen focused on this special partnership. He was unable to publish the pictures at the time, as they exceeded the limits of what could be shown. It was not until 2018 that they were shown in the exhibition "DELETE. Selection and Censorship in Photojournalism."

Günter Hildenhagen was on the board of the GDL for several years. Bernd Lohse nominated him for the DOH-medal, among other things for the social aspects in his pictorial achievements.

DOHill-Medaille_Skulptur-Kammerichs, Foto Kammerichs.jpg
DOH photo sculpture by Klaus Kammerichs, photo: Klaus Kammerichs. © Archiv Deutsche Fotografische Akademie (GDL/DFA)
Günter Hildenhagen (second from left) on the GDL board in 1986. Photo: Wolfgang Schiche © Archiv Deutsche Fotografische Akademie (GDL/DFA)

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