Heinrich Heidersberger lived in Paris from 1928 to 1931; he attended the painting school run by Fernand Léger. He could also be seen frequently, sitting at the Café du Dome on Boulevard St. Germain with his artist colleagues. They had very little money to meet their basic needs and at one point, Ernest Hemingway even lent Heidersberger's girlfriend a few Francs.

Together with an artist friend, Ida Kar, he decided to document his paintings and drawings in photographs. He bought the camera he needed at a local flea market. He took the film to a drugstore to have it developed and, unfortunately, it was ruined in the process. It was then that he decided to do it all himself, from taking the photographs to developing the film and printing the pictures.

Up until 1935, he considered photography more as a passionate hobby than a profession. But after he moved to Berlin and received a number of job contracts from publishing companies and agencies, photography became an important source of income.

His photographic works can be categorized by the different subjects he captured on film.

'Ein Deutsches Flugzeugwerk' , Wiking Verlag Berlin 1938
'Architekturphotographie 1952-1972', Steidl Verlag  2000

Architecture photography

After getting to know architect Herbert Rimpl, Heidersberger got involved in photographing architecture. Contracted by Rimpl, he shot the Heinkel aircraft plant in Oranienburg. Later, Rimpl asked him to become head of the picture and film library of the Hermann Göring “Reichswerke” (large-scale building projects in the Third Reich) that he had planned (Salzgitter Steel Works - Braunschweig).

After the war, Heidersberger developed friendships with a number of architects in Braunschweig and became their regular photographer, establishing a solid reputation in photographing architecture. Photographing architecture remained one of the main focuses of his work into the 1970s.

(Heinrich Heidersberger, Architekturphotographie 1952-1972)

# 3514 / 23+24 Brunsviga, Braunscheig 1949
# 4115 / 1 Krupp, Hannover, 1969

Advertising and industrial photography

Similar to the photography of architecture, advertising and industrial photography was to become the second mainstay of his work.
He worked for such companies as Brunsviga in Braunschweig, Jenaer Glass in Mainz or Krupp in Essen.

# 3512 / 1 Schaufenster Studio 'Five', Braunschweig, 1949
# 9048. Jutta Eckert, ca. 1955

Portrait Photography

After the Second World War, Heinrich Heidersberger initially worked as an interpreter for the English occupying forces in Braunschweig. The local culture officer hired him as a photographer and so he documented the reawakening cultural life of the city. Soon he was provided with a small studio (Studio 5) in the centre of Braunschweig. Here he portrayed the Braunschweig society of the post-war period under improvised circumstances. As a portrait photographer Heidersberger always tried to animate his clients to expressive gestures or to unusual poses. Always on the lookout for innovative pictorial achievements, he experimented with the possibilities of studio photography, thus bringing personality to the fore. With the help of various accessories or staffages as well as by using special backgrounds and lighting he created portraits full of character, which are perhaps so original precisely because the photographer, as an autodidact, did not have to - or did not want to - follow the rules of the photographic guild.

# 110 / 2 Kleid aus Licht, Stern 1949
# R 4505 / 2.5 'Mit Mann und Roß und Wagen', Stern #21, 1950
# 9013  MS Atlantic / New York – Cuba 1954

Travel, reporting and documentation photography

Followig World War II, Heinrich Heidersberger initially worked as an interpreter for the British occupying forces. Their cultural officer hired him as a photographer and he was given permission to use a small studio (studio five) in downtown Braunschweig. Here he did small contract jobs for the British and documented the new beginnings of cultural life in the city.

When Henri Nannen founded ‘Stern’ (Star) magazine in Hannover at the end of the 1940s, Heinrich Heidersberger became one of the first photographers to work for the publication.
It was for ‘Stern’ that he photographed the now famous series entitled ‘Kleid aus Licht’ (Dress Made of Light) or did reports on different topics, including one about a circus that fled over the East German border at the beginning of the 1950s. He had the circus people and their animals reenact the spectacular escape in a nearby forest.
Heinrich Heidersberger worked for ‘Stern’ up until the beginning of the 1960s.

After he published a book about Braunschweig at the end of the 1950s, another book about his new workplace in Wolfsburg followed just five years later.
His approach to the different cities reflected much meticulous precision and great sensitivity.

# 3782  / 226b  Rhythmogramm, ca. 1955
# 3598 / 4 Gasometer, Braunschweig 1952

Independent works

The Rhythmograms are undoubtedly one of the most important areas of his free, experimental photography.
But the photographs of the Laedertraede in Copenhagen or the ‘Pedestrians in Düsseldorf’ are now considered as high points in his body of work.

In addition to his contract work, he continued to produce free artistic interpretations. He developed the first Rhythmograms while working on a mural for the Wolfenbüttel School of Engineering (the Technical College today) and made photographs for the conference hall of the Braunschweig Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Letzte Änderung: 30.5.2023