May 23rd until Augoust
From May 5 to July and August Hilaneh von Kories Gallery in Hamburg will present works by New York-based photographer Bill Perlmutter. Beginning in 1954, on assignment for the US Army, Perlmutter traveled through Europe. “Europe in the Fifties. Through a Soldier’s Lens” shows a selection of his images taken in Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The 80-year old’s work is a historical treasure that will be presented for the first time in a German gallery.The photographer’s view of war-torn Europe is direct and intuitive. Without much background knowledge and with a somewhat biased opinion primarily shaped by films he had watched, the young GI set out to start his coverage. In a discrete way, humans shape his images. With an open mind and obvious interest for his contemporaries, he witnesses a Europe, which is marked by visual reminders of a war that had been fought ten years before. Although, people have settled into their daily routines again. Life goes on, despite of the wartime experience and the austerity that followed. It is all there in front of Perlmutter’s camera, who captures street scenes as a curious and impartial spectator. He does not prey on them but approaches human beings with a sense of empathy. “The streets became a stage and the people the actors, in a constantly changing and fascinating theatre of reality”, Perlmutter comments on his photographic inspiration.
It all started in December 1954, when the then 27-year old soldier boarded a troop carrier to Germany, to start his new assignment as a photographer for the U.S. Army magazine. The first images from Perlmutter’s Rolleiflex originated during the rough Transatlantic passage. Even though he had never left his home country and was a bit apprehensive about his future, Perlmutter was “looking forward to photographing Europe and visiting all those wonderful places that I had read about and seen in the movies.” His first short vacation from his deployment in Germany brought him to Paris, where he allowed himself to drift up and down boulevards and to find his own perspective of life in the big city.