Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


The Acrobats by Otto Umbehr

The Acrobats by Otto Umbehr

Umbo (Otto Umbehr) took this picture of the acrobats at Berlin Winter Garden show somewhere around 1932.

Umbehr, a former Bauhaus student and a follower of Johannes Ittens became interested in photography in the mid-1920´s after moving to Berlin (and who would not have back then?).

Soon afterwards not only did he create a new style in photography and had his images printed in the leading newspapers and magazines of the time but he also co-founded DEPHOT, German Photo Agency, which massively shaped German reportage photography by 1933 and the final rise of the Nazis.

Under their regime Umbo still worked as photographer but he no longer looked through his lenses as an artist. Nevertheless, he remained a brilliant photo-journalist until his death in 1980.

Today only few of his earlier, pre-war works remain – his Berlin archive was hit by a bomb during the air-raids of 1943 and burnt down almost entirely. Out of 50.000 or perhaps even 60.000 negatives only 450 could be salvaged.

But as with every real artist, as soon as you see them you know: it is not the quantity that matters.

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