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„Was gezeigt werden kann, kann nicht gesagt werden“

Fotoreportagen in der tschechoslowakischen Avantgarde der Zwischenkriegszeit

Jeanette Fabian

Pages 47 - 72

“What Can Be Shown Cannot Be Said”

The beginnings of photojournalism after the First World War reveal a range of different forms and styles. The avant-garde underlines the autonomy and equal value of the picture in the inter-medial relation between language and photography: the pictures are not relegated to the background or serve as mere illustrations of text. This is apparent in photo-books, typo-photos or photo documentaries of avant-garde artists and writers. With selected examples from the Czechoslovak avant-garde around the art group ‚Devětsil‘, the article corroborates this thesis. Photo documentary is understood in a broad sense, drawing on Robert Lebeck’s definition as “story in pictures” and attempts to determine whether photo documentaries can be delineated clearly from other photo-literary forms, or whether each such photographic “story in pictures” can be regarded as a photo documentary.
The article draws on examples of photo documentaries taken from the almanacs, journals as well as book editions of the Czechoslovak avant-garde during the inter-war period. They are juxtaposed to photographic stories in images of Poetism. These avant-garde forms of photo-literary forms follow Wittgenstein’s famous statement that “What can be shown, cannot be said”.


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