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René Groebli
René Groebli

René Groebli

Country: Switzerland
Birth: 1927

René Groebli (born October 9, 1927 in Zurich) is an exhibiting and published Swiss industrial and advertising photographer, expert in dye transfer and colour lithography. He grew up in the Enge district of the city of Zurich, where he attended the Langzeitgymnasium. After two years, he moved to the Oberrealschule, a science-oriented grammar school, but broke off this education after two years to begin an apprenticeship as a photographer with Theo Vonow in Zurich in 1944. When his teacher moved back to Graubünden, Groebli entered the preparatory course of the Zurich School of Applied Arts, attending from the spring of 1945. Subsequently, he enrolled in the renowned professional class for photography under the direction of Hans Finsler and Alfred Willimann until the summer of 1946. Amongst his fellow students were Ernst Scheidegger and Anita Nietz.

In September 1946 Groebli began training as a documentary cameraman at Central Film and Gloria Film Zürich, graduating in late 1948 with a diploma, though he did not subsequently practice as a cinematographer. In 1947 he won third prize in a competition run by the monthly magazine Camera with his series Karussell. Freelancing for Victor-N. Cohen agency in Zurich, in 1948 Groebli made his first trip to Paris and in 1949 bought his first Leica.

From 1949 Groebli worked as a photojournalist and carried out assignments for the Züri-Woche, and later in Africa and the Middle East for the London agency Black Star. The pictures were published in the magazines Life and Picture Post. His first small folio Magie der Schiene ('Rail magic') comprising 16 photographs (with front and back cover) was also shot in 1949 and self-published later the same year. It captures the ‘magic’ of steam train travel during the late 1940s. Despite being young and relatively unknown, Groebli was able to borrow enough money to finance the high-quality printing. Technically it is a portfolio rather than a book, with pages unbound and laid in loose, inspired by the Man Ray and Paul Éluard publication FACILE (1935) which he purchased on his first trip to Paris in 1948. Photographed with a Rolleiflex 6×6 and a Leica 35mm camera in and around Paris, as well as locations in Switzerland, the often motion-blurred and grainy images convey the energy of steam. An obi-band with German text was produced for the approximately 30 to 40 original preorders, and other copies sold without. He held his first solo exhibition with photographs from the book. He spent three months in Paris where he met Brassaï and Robert Frank and spent a month in London.

On October 13, 1951 he and Rita Dürmüller (1923-2013) were married. A second slim picture book Das Auge der Liebe ('The Eye of Love'), self-published in 1954 through his business “Turnus”, was created in collaboration with his wife Rita Groebli. This small book, though respected for its design and photography, caused some controversy, but also brought Groebli attention. It was assembled from shots made on the belated honeymoon that the photographer and his wife Rita took over two weeks in Paris in 1952 and in the following year for a few days to Marseille, though publication of the photographs was not planned in 1953 Groebli sequenced it for a book, introducing a blank page to stand in for daytime in its chronology. In the Swiss Photorundschau, published by the Swiss Photographic Association, the editor Hermann König traded correspondence with a specialist teacher of the School of Applied Arts where the book had been passed around and argued over, the term "love" in the title being considered by students to be too sentimental given the obvious sexual connotations. Where the photographer’s intention was for a romantic effect, the editor admitted that the narrative was sexualized. In the leading periodical Neue Zürcher Zeitunghe, editor Edwin Arnet objected to the emphasis on nudity. Groebli sequenced his photographs to tell the story of a woman meeting a man in a cheap hotel. The last photograph shows the woman's hand with a wedding ring on her ring finger holding an almost finished post-coitus cigarette. In the perception of audiences of the era, the implication was that the woman had to be either an ‘easy woman’, a prostitute, or an unfaithful wife. However the U.S. Camera Annual review of the work in 1955 pronounced it "a tender photo-essay on a photographer’s love for a woman.”

After the death of photojournalist Paul Senn in 1953 and the killing of Werner Bischof in Peru in 1954, Kurt Blum, Robert Frank and René Groebli were newly admitted to the Kollegium Schweizerischer Photographen. A major exhibition organized by the 'Kollegium' in 1955 convinced critics that a new "Swiss style" that was indeed moving towards Photography as Expression as the exhibition was titled, and the end of critical (later dubbed 'concerned') photography. However, the association was soon disbanded because of disagreements between Gotthard Schuh and Jakob Tuggener, and Groebli had by then relinquished photojournalism.

In the same year, and with four other Swiss photographers, Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Gotthard Schuh and Sabine Weiss, René Groebli was represented with a picture in the exhibition The Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His available-light photo shows a tight crowd of excited, dancing teenagers, their movement blurred in the style of Magie der Schiene.

Groebli launched his own studio for commercial industrial and advertising photography in 1955 in the newly built residential and studio building in Zurich-Wollishofen. At the end of the 1950s, Groebli also had his home and studio converted and enlarged and in addition to two studios and two black and white labs, a dye transfer workshop with several laboratory workstations was added. In 1963 Groebli founded the limited partnership Groebli + Guler with lithographer Walter Guler, renamed 'Fotolithos' in 1968. The workplace in Zurich-Wollishofen was equipped with the latest and best technical facilities and through the 1960s and early 1970s the business employed a staff of up to twelve, with good profits made from servicing the advertising photography industry.

After ten years producing specialist colour photography, dye transfer production and colour lithographs for commercial advertising and industrial photography, in 1965 Groebli published his third photo book Variation through Arthur Niggli Verlag, Teufen. It presented a retrospective of possibilities of Groebli’s colour photography, though with scant mention of the role of his many employees and business partners. In 1971 he issued a second edition Variation 2, with updated information on colour technology including Cibachrome.

By the late 1970s, with the more widespread adoption and acceptance of chromogenic methods of colour production less technically demanding and cheaper than dye transfer, Groebli ceased commercial photography and colour production, sold his home and studio and retired, though he still maintained connections with the industry and presented a paper on dye transfer at the 1977 Rencontres d'Arles. Groebli returned to making personal photographic essays in colour and in black and white, in series titled Fantasies, Ireland, The Shell, Burned Trees, N. Y. Visions, New York Melancholia and Nudes. Over the decades of the turn of the century, he worked on his image archive and digitized the most important photographs that he had taken over a career of sixty years. Groebli currently resides in Switzerland.

Source: Wikipedia


 

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Germany/United States
1954 | † 2019
The focus of the German photographer Michael Wolf’s work is life in megacities. many of his projects document the architecture and the vernacular culture of metropolises. Wolf grew up in Canada, Europe, and the United States, studying at UC Berkeley and at the Folkwang School with Otto Steinert in Essen, Germany. He moved to Hong Kong in 1994 where he worked for 8 years as a contract photographer for Stern Magazine. Since 2001, Wolf has been focusing on his own projects, many of which have been published as books. Wolf’s work has been exhibited in numerous locations, including the Venice Bienniale for Architecture, Aperture Gallery, New York; Museum Centre Vapriikki, Tempere, Finland, the Museum for Work in Hamburg, Germany, Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennial, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. His work is held in many permanent collections, including the metropolitan museum of art in New York the Brooklyn Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, California; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany and the German Museum for Architecture, Frankfurt, Germany. He has won first prize in the World Press Photo Award competition on two occasions (2005 & 2010) and an honorable mention (2011) In 2010, Wolf was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet photography prize. He has published more than 13 photo books including Bottrop Ebel 1976 (Peperoni Press, 2012), Tokyo Compression Three (Peperoni Press / Asia One, 2012), Architecture of Density (Peperoni Press / Asia One, 2012), Hong Kong Corner Houses (Hong Kong University Press, 2011), Portraits (Superlabo, Japan, 2011), Tokyo Compression Revisited (Peperoni Press / Asia One, 2011), Real Fake Art (Peperoni Press / Asia One, 2011), FY (Peperoni Press, 2010), A Series of Unfortunate Events (Peperoni Press, 2010), Tokyo Compression (Peperoni Press / Asia One, 2010), Hong Kong Inside-Outside (Peperoni Press / Asia One, 2009), The Transparent City (Aperture, 2008) and Sitting in China (Steidl, 2002). Source: photomichaelwolf.com Michael Wolf’s work examines life in the layered urban landscape, addressing juxtapositions of public and private space, anonymity and individuality, history, and modern development. In a diverse array of photographic projects, from street views appropriated from Google Earth, to portraits capturing the crush of the Tokyo Subway, and dizzying architectural landscapes, Wolf explores the density of city life. Wolf currently lives and works in Hong Kong and Paris. His photographs are in the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; The Brooklyn Museum; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago among others, and have been exhibited at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego (2011), Goethe Institute in Hong Kong (2010), Fotographie Museum, Amsterdam (2010), Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2008), Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2008), and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2008), among others. Wolf was awarded First Place in the 2010 World Press Photo Award contest in the Daily Life category, and was shortlisted for the 2010 Prix Pictet. Wolf's numerous monographs include Tokyo Compression Revisited (Peperoni Books, 2011), Real Fake Art (Peperoni Books, 2011), Tokyo Compression (Peperoni Books, 2010), Hong Kong: Inside/Outside (Peperoni Books, 2009), The Transparent City (Aperture and MoCP, 2008), Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door, (Thames & Hudson, 2005), and Sitting in China (Steidl, 2002). Source: Robert Koch Gallery Michael Wolf was born in 1954 in Munich, Germany. He grew up in the United States, Europe, and Canada, and studied at UC Berkeley and at the Folkwang School in Essen, Germany. In 1994, Wolf moved to Hong Kong and worked for eight years as a contract photographer for Stern magazine, until he left to pursue his own projects. Wolf's photographic work in Asia focuses on the city and its architectural structures and follows on from his interest in people and human interaction. He has published seven photobooks to date. Wolf's work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and art fairs throughout the world since 2005 and is held in permanent collections across the US and Germany. Wolf has won previously won a World Press Photo award, the first prize in Contemporary Issues stories in 2005. Source: World Press Photo
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