Vintage Germany: Wilhelm Dreesen

There’s a tug-of-war at play in the works of photographer Wilhelm Dreesen, who both worked on the picturesque and painterly landscapes, and then there's the modernization of Germany.

"Apenrader Hafen" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"; "Flott Gemacht" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein";"Ein Stück Flensburg" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"; "Auf der Weichsel", "Im Flensburger Hafen" und "Segeltrocknen" aus der Mappe "Malerische Bilder"; "Kurhäuser in den Dünen auf Fanö (Dänemark)", "Svenburgsund (Dänemark)" und "Lister-Dünen auf Sylt" aus der Mappe "Malerische Bilder"; "Gestrandet bei List auf Sylt", "Cuxhafen an der Elbe", "Plauderei am Bollwerk" und "Dorfstrasse in Niebüll (Nordfriesland)" aus der Mappe "Malerische Bilder";

He worked on two kinds of aesthetic to capture the German Empire's atmosphere — one in which he shows the modernizing ports and cities of Germany in ate 19th and early 20th century cityscapes, such as the northern boundary that is Schleswig-Holstein, and the contrasting views of idyllic rural life in parts of the country. Not only did he photograph German coasts, but also Scandinavia. How he managed to do so was due to generosity. Many shipping companies offered him free travels on their ships, thus Dreesen would bring the pictures he took, making them like postcards.

One thing to note of Dreesen's work is how polished they are. His compositions are well-thought out, and the ordinary lives he did manage to capture were due to coincidence. Dreesen's true goal was to romanticize everything provincial and rural.

Auf der Flensburger Föhrde" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"; "Heimkehrende Krabbenfischer (Im Wattenmeere)" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"; Herrenhaus in Wohldorf; "Plauderpause" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"; Schäferin am Wattenmeere" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"; "Die Sammlerin" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"; "Badende Mädchen" aus der Mappe "Aus Schleswig-Holstein"

Images are from the public domain, courtesy of the MKG Collection.

2018-09-06 #people #documentary-photography #wilhelm-dreesen

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