Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Portrait Photography by Albrecht Tübke

Posted by magz on 6:14 PM

When Albrecht Tübke began to photograph people he encountered in the cities of Europe and the USA, he became part of a long tradition of documentary portraiture. Like his illustrious forebear August Sander, and more recent practitioners such as Judith Joy Ross and Rineke Dijkstra,, Tübke has a gift for allowing his subjects to perform in their own solitary drama. "Many people", he writes, "try to hide their emotions and feelings as they go about everyday life. This public persona is often calculated to mask what is within, creating a veneer of individuality, a fabrication to hide behind." In "Citizens", Tübke has created, from real life, a cast of characters who play their parts in the urban drama. All of the people he has photographed pose in the same way, directly facing the camera, in front of a background of concrete or stained brick wall. A man in an oversized blazer and a paisley scarf, a woman in a white tracksuit, a middle-aged red head in a cerise mac, and urban cowboy, a dark haired woman with a vintage suitcase, a dishevelled man with a shopping bag. These are people with their own secrets, joys; anxieties, dreads and anticipations, but we can only wonder as to what they are. Tübke's photographs are cool and beautiful enough to be fashion images, a studied reflection of street style, but in the end, this is belied by the democracy of their vision.