Robert Hausser was a post-World War 2 German photographer who worked exclusively in black and white and concentrated mainly on landscape and architectural photography.

He’s considered as one of the forerunners of contemporary photography and was quick to call his creation “art” at a time when many others of his nation dared not do so.

Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1924, Hausser created many pieces of work that would go on to be exhibited many many times in locations around the globe before his death at the age of 80 in 2013.

His early work was made up of landscapes, quite often of agricultural land as he lived on his parents’ farm at the time. His work is black and white and mainly made up of the contrasts between deep blacks and bright whites. Although there are mid-tones with his images, it’s the contrasts that stand out to me.

As well as there being a contrast in the tones of his images, it appears to me that Hausser was fascinated by the symmetry of large buildings and objects too. One of my favourite images above is the single bright white plate placed on a table. I like it because of all the straight lines that are present only to be contrasted by a single bright white, round plate that has the prime position within the composition. I’m not sure what this implies but I just love the whole opposites thing that Hausser has gong on in such a simple composition with tones, shapes and angles. This shows that his work wasn’t all about architecture and landscapes and that he could also create great still-lives and other pieces of art through the lens of his camera. 

Another of my favourites from the batch above is, I assume, from Hausser’s “Bright Period” said to have been between 1953-54. It is of the person riding through the snow on a pushbike whilst holding what looks to be an umbrella. Again, we have a great contrast of the blacks and whites with a nice balanced composition and orderly straight lines in places. This piece, to me, is very much in the style of the legendary Henri Cartier-Bresson. The motion Hausser has managed to capture of the cyclist is just perfect as it shows you he is travelling at speed yet it’s not too much as to blur the subject so much that it’s difficult to make out what it is. It gives the sense of the person rushing to get home and out of the cold, wet snow.

For his style of imagery, Hausser received the Hasselblad ‘International Photography Prize’ in 1995. This award is considered by many to be akin to the Nobel Prize of photography. He was the first German to be awarded this highly coveted award.

I personally enjoy Hausser’s work as I find myself feeling more comfortable when things are neat and orderly. I get this from many of his images with both the compositions and the cleanness of his black and white contrasty style.

This summer assignment of looking into new photographers (to us) is really introducing me to artistic photographers that I’ve not looked at before in my currently short-spanned interest in photography. From what I’ve seen of Robert Hausser’s artistic work so far has got me interested in looking into his work further as it appears to be right up my street.