Mary Frey’s Favorite Book from 2019

Kleinstadt by Ute & Werner Mahler.   Published by Hartmann Projects.

In Ute and Werner Mahler’s exquisite book, Kleinstadt, their camera travels through the neighborhoods of small German towns recording its people, buildings and occasional details in storefronts and backyards. The fact that nothing special is happening in their images is precisely the point. We are presented with clean but empty streets. Parked cars, an overflowing trash can or a menacing dog are the only evidence that life does exist here. Yet the strength of this work is in the portraits of the young people sequenced throughout the book. They are depicted with clarity and beauty and, as the artists state in their brief essay: “We see hope. In the eyes of the young ones: the whole world. Tightness and closeness, like life.”

Mary Frey currently lives and works in western Massachusetts. Her latest photobooks are Reading Raymond Carver (2017) and Real Life Dramas (2018), both from Peperoni Books, Germany. www.maryfrey.com