©Erich Hartmann/Magnum Photos/courtesy °CLAIR Galerie.
Throughout his 50-year career Erich Hartmann was known as a photojournalist, a member of Magnum. However, his own business card read simply "Erich Hartmann, Photographer", he saw pictures everywhere and was never without a camera. In addition to his essays and reportage for publications and corporations world-wide he pursued, from his earliest days in photography, private photographic passions and obsessions - his vocation was also his avocation.
Here is a small selection from a few of these projects, some of which grew out of insights he gained on particular assignments, others were photographic problems he wished to solve. The abstract images were made by refracting a laser beam onto a smooth surface, resulting in complex designs of great variety. The images of laser light on a person or object are an intertwining of an existing form and writing with laser light. The means of directing the laser beam within an environment was based on miniaturization of scanning devices mostly of his own design. He wrote that the resulting photographs gave him satisfaction because he had been able to introduce into commonplace situations an unfamiliar way of using light, resulting in photographs which he found disquieting and ambiguous.
He was in fact always drawn to the enigmatic and ambiguous as in the case of the fruits and vegetables where lighting, placement and juxtaposition produce images in which relative size becomes puzzling. The color images of the printed circuit and the particle counter are part of a large series in which he revealed the beauty of the tiny forms that lie in the heart of technology. Unseen, hidden and precision-built to perform a particular function in a giant machine, they have their own beauty.
The other color images he called "Wrappings Under Stress". They are photographs of the stress patterns on pieces of cellophane and plastic sheeting produced by a quality control optical process resulting in these images of complex design and color.So here, in addition to and alongside Erich Hartmann's immense photojournalistic output, is THE ABSTRACT ART OF ERICH HARTMANN. (Text: Ruth Bains Hartmann)
Further information on Erich Hartmann: http://www.clair.me/artists/erich-hartmann/
Vignette © erich Hartmann.