View Full Version : Discussing an Umbo Photograph

David A. Goldfarb
12-27-2007, 05:44 PM
Umbo (Otto Umbehr) was a pioneering German photographer in the 1920s. I did not know anything about him until I saw one of his prints at the Art Institute of Chicago today as part of an exhibition about shadows--


Unfortunately, they don't provide a larger version online, but the tones in the print are incredible. It's just slightly warm, with all the hallmarks of a silver chloride print. I think the German chloride paper available then was Agfa Lupex.

Here's a larger image of another print from the same series--


Here is an article about his life--


12-27-2007, 06:36 PM
Looking at the second link - somehow the shadows seem too elongated to the light source.

And the angle seems "off" a bit too. Look at the sweeper's broom handle and the woman's briefcase/handbag.

Very interesting stuff....

Jim Chinn
12-28-2007, 09:06 AM
Thanks David.

I think the era between the two world wars (especially in Europe) is by far the most interesting time in the history of photography. Painting was abondoning realism for abstraction, advanced cubism and surrealism. Photography was accepted as the true medium to present "reality". Yet many painters experimeted with cameras and soon discovered that selecive reality in front of the lens could equal experiments in painting.

Bill Mitchell
12-30-2007, 10:13 AM
Thanks, David. I knew the name and a little of his work, but otherwise nothing about him.