When Lothar Hartmann moved from Hesse to West Berlin at the end of the 1960s, the divided Berlin wasn't only front line city in the Cold War but at the same time volatile scene of social upheavals. More obvious than elsewhere the contradictions of an aspiring metropolis in post-war Germany were present at all times. A fast-moving consumer culture dominated the appearance of the city and yet it couldn't hide the scars of the past. In this euphoric mood, the new wasn't new for long.
Lothar Hartmann wanted to preserve these images of constant change. The trained colour lithographer began to take pictures. His close look makes him see things that appear to be insignificant and yet reveal so much. He seldom photographs people rather the traces they leave.
Based on spontaneous fascination of many details, he soon searched for motifs purposefully. In the rear courtyards of Kreuzberg he discovered many relics of different times: old signs, torn posters, casually covered fonts and prosperity trash.
Lothar Hartmann sees his pictures as time documentation, they are free from coincidences. The neutral light and the frontality of objects without perspective spatial representation support this impression. All motifs are treated the same. He photographs the discovered situation at eye level without changing the spots and without arranging items. And still his preference for aesthetic harmonies is noticeable. In the series of the chewing gum machines he is captivated by the colorful harmony of the walls with the technoid apparatuses and in the shots taken in Hvide Sande (Denmark), the windows of the fishing sheds look like pictures in the picture.
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