In 1976, Dieter Hacker and Andreas Selzer founded the “VOLKSFOTO – Zeitung für Fotografie” (Journal for Photography). Over six issues, amateur photography was discussed with the inclusion of guest contributors. The individual issues of the journal dealt with subject matter such as photographs of children, erotic photography, political photography and the limits of photography.
Here is an excerpt from the introductory text entitled “Der unsichtbare Berg“ (The Invisible Mountain) that appeared in the first issue of the VOLKSFOTO (1976):
With VOLKSFOTO, we would like to record examples of this production (of amateur photography, editor’s note). We would like to make the invisible mountain of non-professional photographs more evident and contrast its approaches and possibilities for development with a visible body of professional photography that uses motifs and equipment purely at the service of representative or decorative purposes. With this journal, we would like to publish the first observations in a field that, even if acknowledged, largely precluded itself from an enduring, enquiring interest because it was too intimate and too directly involved with our everyday lives. Dieter Hacker/Andreas Selzer
Dieter Hacker, born 1942, lives and works in Berlin
1990-2007 he was Professor at the University of the Arts, Berlin
Pictures from an album
Among one hundred photograph albums that we leafed through, we came across one or two that broke with the conventions of amateur photography.
Not to simply photograph Sunday events but also scenes from everyday life such as washing up and combing hair means in the end that the photographer no longer considers it necessary to erect a fake façade to mask his real life. He is just as self-assured when photographing “Our Buick”, no longer placing his wife in front of the car to disguise his pride as its owner.
Instead of throwing the blurred photograph into the waste paper basket, he regards it as worthy of a little joke, showing that he has lost respect for the medium of photography and thereby able to use it playfully.
Erotic photographs, usually hidden away ashamedly in drawers when taken by amateurs, are stuck here self-confidently into an album – and quite rightly so, as the photograph “Nach der Bescherung, 1946” (After Giving Presents) is superior to most professional pornographic pictures.
VOLKSFOTO, Journal for Photography, No. 1 1976
Editors: Dieter Hacker and Andreas Selzer
“The hardworking maids”
“Mirror, mirror on the wall”
“Storm and fog”
“On Island in Königssee”
“After Giving Presents”