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Photography criticism from the Stasi

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 14, 2009

Harald Hauswald, an East German photographer, published in West Germany a book of his work in 1987. The East German secret police, the Stasi, put Hauswald under surveillance and even went so far as to produce a detailed critique of his book, as a photo critic might. Joerg Colberg recently met with the photographer and obtained a copy of the Stasi report on Hauswald’s work. From the report’s introduction:

Especially the selection of the images gives away that we are dealing with a book that has a long-term purpose. People gathered everything somber, oppressive, from poor neighbourhoods, or primitive they could find. It seems apparent that color was intentionally omitted, because only black and white reproduction stresses the supposedly gray, bleak and dismal reality of East Berlin.

It’s interesting to hear the charge of propaganda coming from the secret police of a Communist dictatorship.

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