16.01.04 - 28.02.04

Franz Lazi
Photography. Architectural, Design and Advertising Photography of the Fiftees


"The book opens with aftermath pictures, but how significant they are. Normally we would pass by such images of rubble-strewn streets as documentary product, of the kind you might expect in 1948. They are rich though these pictures in signs of the modernising imagination: one image in particular of rubble in Berlin surmounted by hoardings advertising the motor trade, sports goods and Parisian fashions. Lazi's orientation was constructive and mindful of the future. In one picture, dated in 1950, a child, a young boy, tends a doll made comfortable in a makeshift bed. Two colleagues look on. Significantly they are travelling men, geared for action, although at the moment they only have scooters at their disposal. It looks like Lazi's contribution to the Family of Man, except that it is too modernist and futuristic for that rather traditional vision of how things were supposed to turn out.(...) In 1949 Lazi set up as a commercial photographer (...) Commercial photography from this era has not been theorised to any great degree. What exactly can be said about pictures of tableware and displays of wine glasses? It was business for virtuoso technicians, as survivors from the era like to point out. There were particular difficulties involved in the photography of glassware and chrome, especially in relation to matte black surfaces. Underlying these difficulties was a preoccupation with light as a pre-eminent value."

Ian Jeffrey

from: Light and Substance in the Photography of Franz Lazi (printed in the catalogue "Franz Lazi. Photography. Architectural, Design and Advertising Photography in the Fiftees", Edition J. J. Heckenhauer, Berlin/Tuebingen 2003. The catalogue with the complete text by Ian Jeffrey and a text by Manfred Schmalriede can be purchased through the gallery).

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