THE IMAGOGRAMM

»In times of unrestrained duplication, this term seems like a provocation: A unicum.« – this is how the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” describes the phenomenon which other people simply call the spiritual rebirth of photography: the IMAGOgram. Each step of its development is art – starting with the IMAGO camera, which surprises the user with a true-sided reflection! This is how the IMAGOgram consistently uses what the era of pixel-based photography has turned into a convention: a live-sized format (62 x 200 cm) instead of miniaturization. Uncompromising black and white instead of a dull rush of color. The ultimately analog process of IMAGOgraphy celebrates the magic of the moment, which is defined by the self-timer. No manipulations or repetition. No playing games with the variables of digital enhancement. This is the answer to the picture flood thanks to mobile phones and other devices. Sie möchten mehr wissen? Download press statement

Künstlerische Leiterin Susanna Kraus vor einer Reihe von IMAGOgrammen

Künstlerische Leiterin Susanna Kraus vor einer Reihe von IMAGOgrammen

THE VISION OF THE VISUAL

»I want a HISTORY OF LOOKING. For the PHOTOGRAPHY is the advent of myself as other: a cunning dissociation of consciousness from identity. …«* Roland Barthes

PRESS COMMENTARIES

»Irritation is the moment when you see yourself through the eyes of someone else… Self-dramatization par excellence.« Die Welt
»All of the portrayed are amazed by the extraordinary effect of the images brought by this peculiar photo booth. A touch of silver gelatine blurs the large-format photos. The photos are also so expressive that they almost seem like an existential stage production of “Faust”. …« Spiegel
»Spectacular and unique life-size prints.« Hamburger Abendblatt
»Everything is possible: the pose, the imaginative game with one’s own appearance or, with the right kind of courage and poise, an intimate encounter with one’s individual reflection. Looking one’s own image in the face without any sign of fear.« Photonews
»The Imago camera is part of a small but steady renaissance of analog photography, especially of the ‚instant’ sort.« The New York Times

THE HISTORY

Not every revolution has to start in a cellar. This one started in an attic: Werner Kraus’s daughter found a box of IMAGOgrams in her father’s house in Munich in 2004. A lucky find. The actress could not forget the exceptional magic of these photos. Ever since that day she devotes all of her artistic energy to this unique light-art. Coincidences also played a creative role concerning the development of the IMAGO Camera: Werner Kraus gets assigned the photographic documentation of the Daimler-Benz Wankel engine in 1970. He then constructs an extremely fast lens for the capture of the combustion process – on a 1 to 1 scale! This is the moment Werner Kraus first suspects the artistic potential of this construction. With the help of the sculptor Erhard Hößle, he perfects the idea and turns it into a one of a kind project, which combines science, art, craftsmanship and a spectacular experience of the self.

Werner Kraus and Erhard Hößle in front of the original IMAGO camera, 1974

Werner Kraus and Erhard Hößle in front of the original IMAGO camera, 1974

THE CAMERA

The word “Camera” originates from Latin and means “room”. This is exactly what this camera is. It embraces you completely. Here, in the concentrated security of this magical chamber, the journey begins. The captivating odyssey where the finish line is as rewarding as any: You..

The IMAGO camera at the “Month of photography” in Vienna (2006)

The IMAGO camera at the “Month of photography” in Vienna (2006)

The IMAGO camera at its’ current location in Berlin Kreuzberg

The IMAGO camera at its’ current location in Berlin Kreuzberg

THE LENS

The IMAGO camera is equipped with a lens, especially constructed for life-size images. It has an extremely high focal length. This is how pictures can be taken on a 1:1 scale, without warping, directly onto Harman Direct Positive Paper. Originally designed to illustrate the process of a combustion engine, today it visualizes subjects. It hereby is the basis of the IMAGOgram.

THE LIGHT

A lighting-system, especially created for IMAGO, gives this project its beauty and aesthetics. This system was implemented according to the concept of Werner Kraus. Six flashguns provide the extremely high light intensity needed for the IMAGOgram.

THE PAPER

A silver gelatine reversal paper is also among the essentials especially designed for IMAGO. It is made for direct exposure and reacts as soon as a picture is projected onto it. This special paper is the end result of extensive and detailed research work in cooperation with ILFORD Switzerland. The portrait is exposed onto the paper, developed and put into a fixing-bath – ten minutes later the IMAGOgram becomes visible. A high-contrast unicum with shades ranging from the darkest black to the lightest white. Learn more about ILFORD’S Fine Art Harman Direct Positive Paper. Download Story of the paper.

EXIBITIONS

1970/72 Building of the first walk-in large-format camera IMAGO for the illustration of people. Idea and artistic implementation: Werner Kraus and Erhard Hößle. After 2 years of construction IMAGO is presented during a large art event for Munich’s art scene.

Haus der Kunst München (1974)

Haus der Kunst München (1974)

1970/78 Storage of the IMAGO camera due to the ceased production of the needed special photo paper.

1978 Einlagerung der IMAGO Camera, nachdem die Produktion des speziellen Fotopapiers eingestellt wurde.

2004/2006 Susanna Kraus discovers and reactivates the walk-in self-portrait camera IMAGO. She is also able to convince ILFORD Switzerland to resume the production of the Harman Direct Positive Paper.

2006 European Month of Photography in Vienna. First exposition of IMAGO after 30 years named “ Vienna’s analysts in the black box”.

2007 “Göttliches Spiel”, Museum of Fine Arts, Vienna. “You_ser century of the consumer” Museum of Fine Arts Karlsruhe, Prof. Peter Weibel

Berlin’s month of photography

Berlin’s month of photography

“Göttliches Spiel” Museum of Fine Arts, Vienna 2008

“Göttliches Spiel” Museum of Fine Arts, Vienna 2008

2009 “Ich 1:1”, Altonaer Museum Hamburg

2010 “KOCHKUNST”, Gallery “Unter den Linden”, Berlin. “ALL-IN-ONE”, Greek Cultural Institute, Berlin. “Farbwerte”, Group-exhibition, Berlin – Shanghai.

2011 “Outside-In”,  IMAGO Gallery Moritzplatz, Berlin

2012 “Kulturelle Gesten”, Denkerei v. Bazon Brock, Berlin. “Imaging without Boundaries” Photokina, Köln, Co-production with Ilford Switzerland.

2013 “IMAGOgraphy” opening of the “Schaustelle”. A temporary Art Gallery of Modern Pinacotheca, Munich.

2014/15 “IMAGOnation” IMAGO Gallery Moritzplatz, Berlin

2016 “Self Portraits of the 1970s” As part of the European Month of Photography Berlin, IMAGO Gallery Moritzplatz, Berlin

“TOUCHED – Craftsmanship in Contemporary Photography” Group exhibition curated by Anton Corbijn, Unseen Photo Festival, Amsterdam

FRIENDS AND SPONSORS

The relaunch of the camera would not have been possible without the support of some particular people and companies. We would like to give thanks to them for their unending passion and love for IMAGO: — Ilford Switzerland — Harman Technology, England — Thomas Schenck (SM Film institute) — Florian Hufnagel (Art Gallery of Modern Pinacotheca, Munich) — Peter Weibel (Museum of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe) — Gottfried and Gerda Haberer — Dieter Rehm, Academy of Arts, MunichPhotokina/Messe Cologne — Lomographic Assosiation, Vienna — Stefan and Lisa Boerger (Delicut) — Christoph Kardinal Schönborn, Vienna — “Die Photoautomaten”, Berlin — The teams from Vienna and Munich who were there form the very beginning — Severin Matusek — Christoph Santner, RealMakers, Vienna — Yasmine Benhadj-Djilali/YBDD, Architecture, Artroom,— sales department Paper DPP Hans O. Mahn GmbH, MACO PHOTO PRODUCTS

And last but not least, we particularly thank the inventors and architects Werner Kraus and Erhard Hößle

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