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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article complicates the history of East German photography through an examination of works by Gundula Schulze Eldowy and Karin Wieckhorst, two contemporaries who navigated the realms of official and unofficial culture in the late eighties. The images selected are specifically drawn from series that focus on less than ideal bodies. Schulze Eldowy’s nude portraits are set in conversation with her images of labor. Wieckhorst’s series frames the subject of disability. The text demonstrates that both the photographers and their subjects were aware of how their images contested East Germany’s fairly prescribed and predictable official image culture. This article argues, finally, that these photographs represent not simply a disidentification of the East German public with official state culture but also an increasing eagerness to redefine it.

Keywords: East Germany, photography, portraiture, nude, disability, worker photography, socialist realism, unofficial culture

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