Robert Lebeck, a prominent German photojournalist, encapsulated the essence of his photographic journey with a simple realization:
“To capture a compelling image, I didn’t have to venture far; all I had to do was step outside my front door, and I did so frequently.”
This exhibition unveils a curated collection of his photographic reports spanning the years from 1955 to 1983, focusing on his work within Germany.
The photographic narrative within this compilation is a treasure trove, encompassing moments such as the uprising of a youthful generation in post-war Germany, the scenes of East Berliners shopping along Karl-Marx-Strasse in Neukölln before the Wall’s construction, the transformation of Kampen on Sylt, evolving from a fishing hamlet into a playground for the affluent and famous in the 1950s, the liberation of the last German prisoners of war at the Herleshausen border station in 1955, insights into the political landscape of the Bonn Republic, and intimate portraits of notable figures like Maria Callas, Alfred Hitchcock, Romy Schneider, and Elvis Presley.
Through his magnetic ability for unobtrusive observation, Robert Lebeck forged close connections with his subjects. His camera lens captured moments of joy, merriment, and affection, but also the tears and tribulations of people. His photographs chronicle both the mundane and extraordinary aspects of daily life in the former Federal Republic of Germany, preserving a fragment of contemporary history. These candid glimpses of real life, ingrained in our cultural memory, remain as pertinent as ever.
A photo book will be released alongside the exhibition, published by Steidl Verlag. Edited and designed by Cordula Lebeck, it features an essay by Daniela Sannwald.
The exhibition is made possible through the collaboration of Kunstarchiv Lüneburg and Archiv Robert Lebeck.
About the Author
Robert Lebeck was born in Berlin on 21 March 1929 and died in his hometown on 14 June 2014. As a self-taught photographer, he worked as a photo reporter for numerous journals and magazines from 1952 onwards. In 1991, the German Society for Photography (DGPh) awarded him the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize, and in 2002, he received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York. His photographs were first presented in a museum in 1962 in the Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, and numerous exhibitions followed.
Robert Lebeck: In this country
September 8, 2023 – November 19, 2023
f³ – freiraum für fotografie – Berlin, Germany