Photography is a comparatively young artistic medium. The first art photos were created in mid-19th century with the intention of using a camera to imitate painting. The differentiation between artistic and applied photography first emerged in 1945. The stylistic roots of artistic photography can be traced to the art of the late Biedermeier era. These photographers sought to depict reality with the greatest possible authenticity. On the other hand, photographs as momentary snapshots of fleeting events formatively influenced Impressionism, which consequently staged its first exhibit in a photo studio. But artistic photography quickly divorced itself from the goal of authentic depiction and ramified into numerous styles and genres.
Artistic photography in its full bandwidth from classical reportage, portrait, nude and architectural photography to conceptual, experimental, staged and abstract photography can be found as vintage or modern prints in the Halls at art KARLSRUHE.
Alongside the visual idea and the artistic message, a good photo also always demands complete mastery of the photographic technique.
Well-known exponents of 20th-century art photography include, for example, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Albert Renger-Patzsch, August Sander, Robert Adams, William Eggleston and Edward Jan Steichen. As in the world of painting, so-called “schools” likewise coalesced in the realm of photo art. These include, for example, the photo school of Bernd and Hilla Becher in Düsseldorf. This couple earned international renown with their black-and-white photographs of half-timbered houses and industrial buildings such as winding towers, blast furnaces, coal bunkers, factory halls, gas meters, grain silos and entire industrial landscapes. The Bechers’ school was the breeding ground for many of today’s world-famous photographers, e.g. Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff or Thomas Struth.