8 June until 25 November 2018
Selection and Censorship in Photojournalism

On the occasion of the 7th Triennial of Photography Hamburg, the exhibition DELETE at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) will explore the world of photo journalism, taking a closer look at how photographs find their way into the media. What selection processes does an image go through before journals and magazines decide to print it? The focus here is not on celebrated icons of reportage photography but rather on all the motifs that end up not being shown or published. What influence do publishers, editors, authors, and graphic designers have on the work of the photographers and the expressive power of their pictures? What mechanisms determine which photos we get to see – and which never see the light of day? Based on these questions, the exhibition examines reportage photos from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s from the holdings of MKG to find out which motifs were deemed worthy of publication in the media. Looking at both historical photographs and contemporary examples, for example images dealing with the issue of migration, the show sheds light on the influence exercised by the media on forming public opinion.

The reportage photos on view, many of them donated to the collection by the photographers themselves, often depict the same motifs as those featured on the printed page. One example is Thomas Hoepker’s epoch-making photo report on the USA, which he put together in the autumn of 1963 for the magazine Kristall. In several images, Hoepker shows children from black families growing up in poverty and desolate conditions. Although the photographer thus addresses racial segregation, one of the most pressing social problems facing the USA, these images never appeared on the pages of Kristall. Something similar happened with a report that Hanns-Jörg Anders photographed for Stern magazine in 1969 about the escalation of violence in Northern Ireland. The magazine decided to focus in its account solely on the street fighting in Belfast and Londonderry and omitted completely the images in which Anders documented the social consequences of the civil war.

With photographs by Hanns-Jörg Anders, Sirah Foighel-Brutmann and Eitan Efrat, Günter Hildenhagen, Ryuichi Hirokawa and Thomas Hoepker.

Photo: Hanns-Jörg Anders (*1942), Unrest in Northern Ireland (Londonderry), 1969, gelatin silver print, 26,5 x 38,7 cm, © Hanns-Jörg Anders – Red. Stern