Erich Hartmann (July 29, 1922 in Munich – February 4, 1999 in New York City) was an American photographer
His first solo exhibition Sunday with the Bridge, a photographic study of the Brooklyn Bridge, opened at the Museum of the City of New York in 1956. In 1962, his book and exhibition Our Daily Bread toured widely around the United States. Many more exhibits followed over the years, in the United States, Japan, and throughout Europe. He lectured at the International Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria, at the Syracuse University School of Journalism, and elsewhere, taught at workshops and seminars, and received commendations including the Photokina award (Cologne, Germany), the CRAF International Award (Italy), the Newhouse Citation in Photography (US) and numerous Art Directors Club awards.
His principal interest, in photography as in life, was the way in which people relate both to their natural surroundings and to the environments they create. He documented not only industry and technology – glass-making, boat-building, farming, food production, aviation, construction, space exploration, scientific research – but also the human cultural and geographical contexts.
"Writing with Light" Erich Hartmann/Magnum. His personal projects reveal a fascination with the way technology can embody beauty: the abstract patterns of ink drops in water, intimate portraits of tiny precision-manufactured components, or laser light in natural and man-made environments. His obsession with laser light began in the 1970s, Ruth Hartmann remembers: ″He saw there a way to make light truly "write", to "photo" "graph". He began experimenting with diffusing laser light through different kind of glass, through prisms, lenses of all kinds, through faceted doorknobs, breaking the light into pieces to make designs, to write. He then refined his techniques so as to be able to impose a controlled image of concentrated light on landscapes, then on people. This culminated in a major show in New York and other smaller shows″.
This concern with dehumanization led him undertake in his late years a very personal and intimate project that both honored and transcended memory.
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