Hans Finsler: Mein Weg zur Fotografie / My Way to Photography. 30 photographs taken in the twenties/30 Aufnahmen aus den zwanziger Jahren. Pendo-Verlag, Zu¨rich, 1970. 70 pp. Octavo (8 x 4.25 in./20.5 x 11 cm.). Photo-illustrated wrappers. Black-and-white reproductions. Text in German and English. "This book summarizes Hans Finsler's photographic exposition, presented 1969 in the galerie 58 in Rapperswil and 1970 in the IBM Gallery in New York"--from the colophon
"What is the photograph? What are the laws of the things I record with it? Is there a valuation of the things in the photograph? Does photography see differently than the eye?"--Hans Finsler
Finsler (1891-1972) was key figure in European Modernism between the wars. He was one of the most important teachers of photography before and after WWII (among his students were Robert Frank, René Burri, Werner Bischof, Emil Schulthess, Anita Niesz and Ernst Scheidegger). This elegant little volume, which accompanied a 1970 show of his work, allowed him to set down his theories later in his life.
Finsler was one of the leading practitioners of the "Neue Sachlichkeit" (or, New Realism) aesthetic that emerged from Germany during the 1920s. His work was included in the 1929 landmark exhibition "Film und Foto" and the book that accompanied it, Foto-Auge ... Oeil et photo ... Photo-eye. The Bauhaus-trained Finsler had a lasting influence on Swiss photography as the first teacher (1932–1957!) of the legendary photographic class at the Zu¨rich Kunstgewerbeschule; as chairman of the Werkbund for many years and as a prolific writer and theoretician.
Trained as an art historian with the renowned Heinrich Wolflinn, Finsler dedicated himself to that branch of "Neue Sachlichkeit" which focused primarily on objects, and less on experimental techniques. In his work for municipal institutions and companies, he demonstrated the potential of Bauhaus-inspired art photography to move in decidedly more commercial directions.
Some light age tanning; otherwise crisp and fine.