Otto Steinert


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(1915–78), German photographer, theorist, and teacher. Trained as a doctor and self-taught as a photographer, Steiner became highly influential in the 1950s as leader of the West German fotoform group and the ‘Subjective Photography’ movement. He looked back particularly to the New Vision photographers of the inter-war years, especially Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, and Bayer, and, in rejecting the neo-pictorialist blandness of the post-war club and salon scene in favour of maximum exploration of creative techniques such as cameraless images, negative printing, and solarization, prepared the way for late 20th-century acceptance of the photographer as an autonomous artist. These ideas were influential as far afield as Japan. Steinert also gained an international reputation as a teacher, first at the Art and Craft School in Saarbrücken, then from 1959 at the Folkwang School in Essen. He developed the Folkwang Museum's photographic collection, organized frequent exhibitions, and wrote prolifically on photography.

From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.

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