3 October 2019 until 12 January 2020
Amateur Photography
From Bauhaus to Instagram

In the exhibition Amateur Photography. From Bauhaus to Instagram, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) took a closer look at amateur photography and its innovative power. Ever since the invention of photography, the amateur has played a key role in its development, with artists at the Bauhaus in particular recognizing the creative freedom afforded by the casual use of the camera. The democratic and political potential of amateur photography was likewise discovered in the 1920s. Both aspects are still of great importance for the way we deal with images. Amateur photography in the early twentieth century heralded the birth of a mass phenomenon, which today takes the form of an inundation of digital images.

Every day, billions of smartphone owners around the world take snapshots of their daily lives. They post their pictures on various social media channels, chiefly Instagram, in order to share them with friends, but also with people they have never met. Photographs have become a central medium of communication, making amateur photography more relevant than ever before. The exhibition compared the pictorial worlds of historical and contemporary amateur photographers, shedding light on their motivations and goals, and examining whether and how the digital amateur photography practised today on a massive scale differs from its historical precursors. Over 200 exhibits by numerous amateur photographers, classical avant-garde artists, and their contemporary counterparts have been on show, along with magazines and journals, books, and digital documents.

Sponsored by the Fonds Bauhaus heute of Kulturstiftung des Bundes, supported by Mondriaan Fund.