For the past few years Barbara Klemm was the one to capture the most important events in Europe. She is German and works with a camera. Her work show significant historic events, turning points, and sometimes a lot more. Martin-Gropius-Bau, has put together an extraordinary exhibition of her work. Looking backward it covers fifty years in about 300 photographs. We can admire the whole range of her work since 1968. Her main subjects are: political events, student’s conflicts, scenes from divided and re-united Germany, citizens’ initiatives, ordinary life moments, and the pictures of regular people from all around the world, but also as subtle portraits of celebs and artists.
Barbara Klemm a daughter of the painter Fritz Klemm was born in Münster in 1939 and grew up in Karlsruhe, where her passion for photography started. The negotiation between Brezhnev and Brandt was the first important governmental event that she photographed. The photo called “Leonid Brezhnev, Willy Brandt, Bonn 1973” travelled around the world instantly. On the famous photo Brezhnev and Brandt, unconscious of being observed, engaged in talking were surrounded by interpreters and consultants. Barbara Klemm has captured this special moment that shows political atmosphere better that any official statement. She capture an almost private instant between the two politicians.
From 1952 to 1999 the legendary addition Bilder und Zeiten (Pictures and Times) that appeared as an extra to FAZ had very often covers with Barbara Klemm’s pictures. A big part of these covers, as much as 70 we can admire at the exhibition. They are gathered and organized by subject.
She was not only one of the most significant and gifted press photographers of her time but also one of the few representatives of journalism who turned photojournalism into an real art. Her black and white photographs are icons of our recent past. They give the audience this feeling that they’re experiencing the essence of things, they are universal and not ephemeral. The power of her work as well lays the amount of respect and empathy towards the pictured models.
Among the most known personalities that Barbara Klemm has photographed we can find: Janis Joplin, Herta Müller, Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Thomas Bernhard, and Joseph Beuys.