Harrowing photo archive has classical music connection

All these photos are from a collection of negatives held at the the Eastman Museum Rochester, NY, the world's oldest museum dedicated to photography and one of the world's oldest film archives. I first came across them when researching an Overgrown Path post in April 2005. The 41 contact strips were identified as the 'Siegfried Lauterwasser Collection', but the Eastman Museum web site then attributed them to 'An unknown Nazi photographer', and still does so. My interest was piqued because Siegfried Lauterwasser was Herbert von Karajan's personal photographer, so reader Carol Murchie in the States researched the provenance of the photos for me. Carol was able to confirm that the photographer was indeed Siegfried Lauterwasser, and uncovered a lot more valuable background from Andy Eskind who had researched the collection at the Eastman Museum. My posts of April 19 and April 29 2005 quote in detail Andy's commentary on the photos, but the following from one of his explanatory emails is worth reprising:
In brief, Lauterwasser would have been about 22 in 1935 when he did this work which technically isn't very proficient. Sadly, he never - even at the end of his life - revealed much about how he was engaged to cover the Borman outing to Unteruhldingen in May 1935, the Parteitag Rally that September, nor the subsequent small jobs over the next couple of years. What we do know is that he served in the German Army and survived the War - establishing a reputation as a successful photographer specializing in musicians. Returning home to a French Occupation zone, he apparently feared that possession of these pre-War negatives could get him in trouble. So he simply threw out roughly half of them. The match between the half he kept (which today are in the hands of his family), and the half he threw away (those now at GEH [George Eastman House]) doesn't superficially appear to have much rhyme or reason. Perhaps he did it in haste; perhaps he returned to such a clutter after VE day that they had been accidentally scrambled into 2 batches. Further study may or may not clarify this.

All photos are reproductions of images available on the Eastman Museum Siegfried Lauterwasser Collection web page. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.


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