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

In the exhibition The Amateur: From Bauhaus to Instagram, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) will take a closer look at amateur photography and its potential for innovation. With billions of smartphone owners around the world sharing daily snapshots of their lives, photography is taken for granted today as a means of constant communication, making the subject of the amateur more topical than ever. Alongside the steady drive for greater professionalism ever since photography was invented, the creative and democratic potential of amateur photography has likewise lost nothing of its importance. The exhibition looks back from the vantage point of the present day at the history of this phenomenon. One focus of the historical section of the show is on the amateur photographers of the Bauhaus with their flouting of aesthetic rules, their specific mode of depicting the realities of life, and their vision of changing society. The exhibition will feature some 150 current and historical international works by amateur photographers as well as artworks with amateurs as their subject. It will shed light on the logic behind image production on photo-sharing portals such as Instagram while examining the current significance of amateur photography and its potential in today’s world. The figure of the “new” digital amateur raises questions that will be explored in a further exhibition focus: What happens when billions of people take pictures on a daily basis, using them, sorting them, and posting them online for others to see? What creative power can such images unfold? What might be the social and political relevance of participatory projects and image collections, for example those of citizen journalists?

Sponsored by the Fonds Bauhaus heute of Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

photo: Wilhelm Carl Friedrich Bandelow (1870–1923), self-portrait, 1902, Gelatin silver print, 15,6 x 17 cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, photo: © MKG