A boy throws a coin into the Lord’s prayer machine, but an unknown beauty glows faintly – a photo taken in 1963 by German photographer Thomas Höpker at the beginning of his career. Hubker early on developed an eye for the essentials that characterizes his photography—to get the Lord’s Prayer engraved on a New York 10-cent coin or a one-cent coin.
Thomas Höpker, born in Munich in 1936, traveled through America in 1963 for “Crystal” magazine. The exhibition “My Way” at the Galerie Buchkunst Berlin in Mitte shows about 20 works from this famous trip, which established his fame.
[Galerie Buchkunst Berlin, Oraninenburgerstr. 27, bis 20.11.]
With a European perspective, he looks at poverty and wealth in America. He photographed children playing in broken-down cars in the ghetto, elegantly dressed women, and people in Manhattan staring straight ahead. The juxtaposition between the turkey ad with the praying family on the big billboard and the tire shop below appeals to him like a sea of billboards on the streets.
People rarely look happier, more downtrodden, and even the various Miss Rodeos look straight out from under their oversized cowboy hats. A lot of time has passed since then, but a lot remains: religion, poverty, wealth.
This is evident in six large-format color photographs taken in 1983. A concert in Central Park looks like a patchwork quilt from above, and two lovers look innocent on a streetcar in front of the silhouette of the Twin Towers in the evening sun. Today. Hoepker later captured a photo of people discussing while the towers lit up in the background.
“I am a film maker,” he said almost 60 years ago; However, it did not become a mass product. Each of his motifs has only a few scenes. A closer look determines – and about the quality of the image. After a rigorous selection process, Hoebker was accepted into the Magnum Photos agency in 1989, and he also served as the agency’s president from 2003 to 2007 – a feat not yet possible at Olympus Photo.
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It speaks to him that he has now entrusted his work “My Way” to the young, dedicated gallery Buchkunst Berlin for his 75th birthday – a room with photographs that tell stories and invite you to look. In 2020, Hoebker and his wife, Christine Grusen, retrace the steps of the 1963 road trip that resulted in the movie “Dear Memories.”
Hoebker’s pictures speak of a time when photographs could still be bought in stores, such as the “Magic Joke Books” in New York. Offer: Cassius Clay, who has been a photographer for 30 years, and John F. Kennedy – with Laurel and Hardy.
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