Major retrospective of German photographer Helga Paris set for Glasgow

Major retrospective of German photographer Helga Paris set for Glasgow

Fotografie provides intimate portrayal of postwar East Germany

This major retrospective of the German photographer Helga Paris gets its only British showing in this exhibition at Street Level Photoworks. A resident of the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin since 1966, her intimate portrayal of postwar East Germany through portraiture of its diverse inhabitants and dilapidated urban landscape makes up the poignant selection of work on display. ‘My intention had been to document life in its natural way, as nobody else did this previously,’ says Paris. ‘I felt an inner compulsion.’

The exhibition presents series of works from various periods and locations, from Transylvania to New York, all of which document a compassionate and tender approach. Despite the lack of market for such images in communist East Germany, the work retained popularity even before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. ‘The fall of the wall represented a great break,’ says Paris. ‘After the collapse of the wall, journalists and photographers were appearing from all over the world and I didn’t have to take pictures anymore. I felt the sense of break from the urgency to take them.’ Paris' work after German reunification departs from the documentary approach of previous work, presenting her personal exploration and reflection on childhood memories and emotions.

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, until Sun 30 Mar

Helga Paris: Fotografie

Work by distinguished German photographer (b 1938), known for her compassionate and realistic images of everyday life in the former German Democratic Republic.