»Every picture came my way«
Herbert Dombrowski (1917-2010)
Opening: Friday, March 4, 2016, 19-21h (Facebook Event)
Opening remarks by Ulrich Rüter, photography historian
Exhibition: March 5 – May 7, 2016
Opening hours: Tue-Fr 14-19h, Sat 12-15h, and by appointment
Extended opening hours for Gallery Weekend Berlin 2016 (Fri, April 29 – Sun, May 1):
Friday 14-19h & Saturday 12-18h
From March 5 to May 7, 2016 Galerie Hilaneh von Kories will present Herbert Dombrowski „Every picture came my way“. The exhibition is an homage to the photographer from Hamburg, who died in 2010. It includes a selection of his best black-and-white images and a number of vintage prints.
Herbert Dombrowski was born in Hamburg in 1917 and he began to take pictures as a high-school student. In 1936, when he was 19, he went to the Hamburg harbor at night to photograph the SS St. Louis. The image, taken with a used Leica camera, was published on the cover of Reclams Universum, a popular illustrated magazine. Three years later the ship‘s name became synonymous with the plight of German Jews called the „Ship of the Damned“. It carried 900 refugees from Europe. They were barred from entering the harbors of Cuba and the United States and consequently had to return to Europe. The ordeal took 50 days. More than 600 of the passengers later died in concentration camps.
After World War II Herbert Dombrowski started a career as a professional photographer. He opened a small studio in Hamburg and began to work for a furniture store and the local hairdresser‘s guild. In 1949 and 1950 he made money by taking pictures of people on the beach at Timmendorfer Strand, a seaside resort on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Here he learned how to interact with people for professional purposes. Aside from extensive assignments such as a documentary (1953-1956) of all the old housing stock in the borough of Altona for Neue Heimat, the owner of a huge number of apartment buildings from 1953 to 1956, he developed a journalistic eye for people in everyday life.
For instance he photographed spectators at the race tracks in their elegant dresses, men at the stock exchange, people in the streets, in market places such as the Fischmarkt or in the district of St. Pauli. The photographer said about his work: „Every picture came my way“.
In these years he photographed for Hamburg Journal, the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel and Stern. „I got into Stern because of a series of photos I had shot at Ballhaus Jahnke in St. Pauli – a dance hall. There I took pictures of sailors and hookers“, Dombrowski said. The then Editor-in-chief Henri Nannen of Stern was enthusiastic and published the series.
In the sixties his narrative style was discovered by advertising agencies. He successfully worked for companies such as VW, BMW, and Esso. In 1985 Herbert Dombrowski retired from his work as a photographer.
Herbert Dombrowski‘s images are timeless and at the same time accurate and valid documents of his time. He never took more than one exposure of any given motif. Professor Dr. Torkild Hinrichsen, the Director of the Altona Museum describes his method as follows:
All his life Dombrowski never changed his style on concentrating on one exposure, because he knew that a picture can never be repeated. So his snapshots capture moments of lasting value in black-and-white and of course in grey, without which the two others are nothing.“
Galerie Hilaneh von Kories which represents the artist‘s work exclusively, will exhibit about 50 of Mr. Dombrowski‘s pictures. These photographs (printed on
silver Gelatin Silver Agfa Multicontrast Paper) are riveting case studies of his capacity to capture intensity and atmosphere. In addition the gallery will show a number of vintage prints from the Dombrowski estate.
At the same time collectors will have the opportunity to acquire a new special edition set (in a box) of five images on Hahnemühle-Baryt-Paper.