Arno Fischer


Born in 1927 in Berlin’s working class district of Wedding, Fischer (German, 1927–2011) served an apprenticeship as a pattern maker and studied sculpture in both East and West Berlin between 1947 and 1953. Turning to full-time photography in 1950, Fischer’s earliest body of work was produced in Berlin between 1954 and 1960 dedicated to the divided city. Known under the title Situation Berlin, the broadly conceived series of pictures documents the social, cultural and political situation in the ‘Four Sector City’. The planned publication of the photographs in book form was prohibited in light of the construction of the Berlin Wall, and was published only with a delay of 42 years after the collapse of the GDR. In 1965 he was co-founder of the DIREKT group. His flat, where he lived from 1966 together with photographer Sibylle Bergemann, became an important meeting place for an alternative community of photographers in East Berlin. In 2000, he was awarded the Erich-Salomon-Prize by the German Photographic Association (DGPh) and in 2010 the Hannah-Höch-Prize by the State of Berlin. One of the most distinguished German photographers of the second half of the 20th century, Arno Fischer’s photos and his teaching in Leipzig, Berlin and Dortmund have shaped three generations of photographers in both East and West Germany.