Thomas Hoepker was the first West German photographer to receive an official authorization to live and report from East Berlin when the city was still divided by a wall. He was followed by the constant gaze of East Germany’s secret police but his work was uncensored. An article in Deutsche Welle explains: Hoepker’s reports gave West Germans their first glimpses of how “the other half” lived. Unlike the East Germans, who could watch West German TV, most West Germans had no idea what life in the GDR was like.
Thomas Hoepker, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin (Ost), 1976
Thomas Hoepker, Festveranstaltung zum 10. Jahrestag der DDR, 1959
Some 280 photos from Hoepker’s work in Eastern Germany are currently on view at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. The exhibition, titled On Living. Photographs by Thomas Hoepker and Daniel Biskup, marks the 50th anniversary of start of the construction of the Wall.
And i’ll leave you with his pictures even if i posted far more in one go than anyone could stomach.
Thomas Hoepker, Neubaugebiet Halle-Neustadt, 1975
Thomas Hoepker, Kindergarten in Friedrichshain, Berlin (Ost), 1975
Thomas Hoepker, Junge mit Spielzeuggewehr, Görlitz, 1976. © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum
Thomas Hoepker: Straße mit einer alten Bäckerei, Halle, 1991
Thomas Hoepker, Schaufensterdekoration, Berlin (Ost), 1975
Thomas Hoepker, Schaufensterdekoration, Berlin (Ost), October 1950
Thomas Hoepker, Trabant, Berlin (Ost), 1974
Thomas Hoepker, Kind an der Berliner Mauer im Wedding, Berlin (West), 1963
Thomas Hoepker, Kind an der Berliner Mauer, Berlin (West), 1963
Thomas Hoepker, Russische Veteranen bei den Feierlichkeiten zum 25. Jahrestag der DDR, Berlin (Ost), 7. Oktober 1974
Thomas Hoepker, Altstoffsammlung im Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin (Ost), 1975
Thomas Hoepker, Urlauber auf Rügen, 1974
Hoepker’s pictures are followed in the exhibition rooms by Daniel Biskup‘s photo documentation of the political and social upheavals in the former German Democratic Republic, the breakup of the Soviet Union and the clashes in the Balkan states.
Daniel Biskup, Kommunistische Demonstranten in Moskau, Mai 1996
Daniel Biskup, Privater Handel vor dem Kinderkaufhaus Detski Mir, Moskau, Dezember 1993
Daniel Biskup, Warenangebot, Moskau, 2. Mai 1996
Photo galleries in Zeit online, RP online and on the website of the museum (Hoepker – Biskup)
On Living. Photographs by Thomas Hoepker and Daniel Biskup remains at the German Historical Museum open until October 3, 2011.
Related sotries: Eros und Stasi, East Side Stories. German Photography 1950s-1980s, Art of Two Germanys, Cold War Cultures, etc.