1986 – 1990
Manfred Paul is one of the main exponents of »auteur photography«, and as a teacher he opened the eyes of several generations of photographers and designers. The work »En passant« was created »in passing« in the period from 1986 to 1990 in East Berlin. It consists of severely cropped black-and-white pictures of women’s legs, which only reveal the lower half of the person portrayed: from the waist down, and sometimes only from the knee. They are all elegant, at times even glamorous, which leads us to indulge in further speculation about the women. The images observe a strict photographic language, as developed by the artists of the Neues Sehen movement a hundred years ago. However, Paul’s series can be clearly dated to the East Berlin of the 1980s — this is indicated by small details, such as broken cobblestone surfaces, sheer tights with a relatively coarse weave, or a characteristic style of shoe typical of that period.
Hubertus van Amelunxen