Most of the photographs on display were made for Frankfurter Allgemeime Zeitung which Barbara Klemm has collaborated with for a long time. These images are valuable not only for their certain artistic quality, but also for theirs historical significance. Possessing the talents most important for a press photographer, to be in the right place at the right time, and to catch the moment that later becomes the icon of an epoch, Klemm illustrates with her photographs the history of Germany from 1960s until now.

During the Cold War, Barbara Klemm was one of the few Eastern German journalists allowed to work in the GDR. Her photographs from that time are not any more perceived as reportage from two parallel worlds but rather as photo chronicle of a single country divided by the Wall. The portrait of the FRG Chancellor Willy Brandt neighbours with the image of the Chairman of GDR State Council Erich Honecker, reportage of American Communist Angela Davis' visit to the Festival of Youth and Students stands next to the photograph of Andy Warhol arrived in Frankfurt.

The largest part of the exhibition is dedicated to significant event in the modern European history, the reunification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Klemm’s black-and-white photographs show exultant crowds at the both sides of the border, the first people in the border corridors, the opening of the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall being pulled apart for souvenirs.

With politics being not the only focal theme for the photographer, Klemm has created the impressive gallery of domestic sketches, industrial landscapes and portraits of political and cultural figures from all over the world (Alfred Hitchcock, Claudia Schiffer, Heinrich Boll, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, etc). One of her first series made for press was dedicated to guest workers, a then new phenomenon to West Germany. In the 1970s, she photographed enthusiastically at meetings and demonstrations.

Barbara Klemm does not approve digital cameras and even now continues shooting on film. One would not find a single color image at her exhibition as she stays true to black-and-white photography. “The text on the page is dark-grey, photographs are black-and-white. This makes the typed material and the picture equal. A color photograph takes most of the attention, and the text looks faded against it. And it’s not what I call a newspaper”.


State Museum and Exhibition Centre for Photography ROSPHOTO, German Goethe-Institute for Culture in Saint-Petersburg supported by Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in St.-Petersburg, Ministry for Culture of the Russian Federation and Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, IFA (Stuttgart)