Maria Zinfert
On the Photographic Practice of Lili and Siegfried Kracauer


Anmerkungen zu einem misslungenen (?) Kracauer Portrait, erschienen unter der Rubrik "Briefly noted" in: The Germanic Review, Literature, Culture, Theory, Volume 88, Issue 4, 2013


[…] it is worth taking a closer look at the image with the negative number 29, which among the photographs in the Kracauer estate can be seen as typical yet unique, invalid yet emblematic. The portrait immediately appears fragmentary, and was probably disregarded for this reason. There is no print of it in the estate, and only after a thorough inspection of the photographic material does one come across the archive-produced contact sheets of the black-and-white film. Image 29 stands out. It is the only knee-length portrait in a series of busts with a background of dark lines and lighter areas: the amorphous pattern of a wallpaper, in front of which the inadequately caught figure of Kracauer appears. […] The photographs were taken with some care, as evidenced by Kracauer’s correct clothing and posture, so the striking failure to capture the subject is all the more puzzling. In as much as the creation of a photographic image always requires the contribution of several participants, it remains to be asked in this case how the media-specific balance of control and loss of control could have been disturbed.

(translated by Michael Turnbull)