The photography book Kracauer. Photographic Archive is a collection of previously unpublished photographic material from the estate of Siegfried Kracauer.
Portrait, city and landscape photographs give insights into the life of the writer and his wife Elisabeth, known as Lili—a life marked by flight and exile. The photographic portraits of Kracauer from the 1930s on were all taken by his wife, while prints, contact sheets, rolls of film and written material reveal that Kracauer took pictures himself, too. Neither Kracauer nor his wife was a professional photographer, yet their photos testify to the aesthetic and technical achievements of their collaborative photographic practice: the eye of the great photography theorist combined with that of the art historian and observant, self-taught photographer Lili Kracauer. The book also tells the story of Lili and Siegfried Kracauer's close working relationship—from the early 1930s following their marriage in Germany, to exile in Paris and the war and post-war years in the USA.
“‘The photograph becomes a ghost because the costumed mannequin was once alive,' Kracauer wrote in 1927. In that sense, the most haunting image is this newly-minted American standing by the billboard for a roadside attraction, dressed in a suit and tie, hair slightly windblown, expression unconsciously mimicking that of the poster's stoic Indian chief.”
J. Hoberman, New York Review of Books
A German sociologist, philosopher, journalist and film
theorist, Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966) was a leading figure on the Weimar arts scene and one of the foremost representatives of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Best known for a wealth of writings on sociology and film theory, his influence is felt in the work of many of the period's preeminent thinkers, including the critic Theodor W. Adorno, who once claimed he owed more to Kracauer than any other intellectual.