For Deutsche Geschichten. 1968-1978 (German Histories. 1968-1978) Timm Rautert, one of Germany’s preeminent contemporary photographers, has chosen 17 photo series from his early work in the late sixties and seventies which give us an intricate insight into German society at the time. From the 1968 International Vietnam Congress in Berlin to the 1974 Ruhr coal crisis and the third generation of the so-called “guest workers” of 1976, the arc of Rautert’s work captures the lives of an entire generation, including those to which the average citizen perhaps preferred to turn a blind eye: the homeless, the long-term unemployed, runaway youth. And yet his pictures are never merely reportage or distanced documentary; Rautert closely empathizes with his subjects and their experiences. In his introduction he further reveals how photography operates as a source of learning- photography not only as the reflection of complex realities but also a means to our deepened understanding of them.
Photography implicates not only our participation in modern knowledge; we’re also seeing ourselves living our lives. We see what is, but also what could be. – Timm Rautert