Fish. Produce. Stock Exchange.
Hamburg in the eyes of photographer Fide Struck, 1930-33
From January 22nd, 2020 until April 12th, 2021
Striking portraits and unusual perspectives are characteristic of the images produced by photographer Friedrich “Fide” Struck (1901 – 1985), who recorded workers in the harbour and farmers in the countryside around Hamburg, but also documented traders in action on the Hamburg Stock Exchange. After his photos were rediscovered in an old wooden suitcase in 2015, the work of this self-taught photographer of workers will now be presented by the Altonaer Museum in cooperation with the Stiftung F.C. Gundlach trust for the very first time.
It was above all in Hamburg and Altona that Fide Struck took photographs of people at work in the harbour, in the fish auction hall and fish smokeries, of the farmers at the Deichtorenhallen vegetable market and finally of traders in the Hamburg Stock Exchange. His photos stand out because of their documentary approach, which is in keeping with the “New Objectivity” and “New Vision” styles, yet their inherent empathy with the world of the workers and farmers means they are also of a political nature.
Under the NS regime, taking socially critical photographs of workers became increasingly dangerous. Struck began to focus more and more on non-political subjects and, after 1934, only took photos of his family. He kept the glass negatives of his works in a wooden case which accompanied him from Berlin via Hamburg to Stuttgart and back to Hamburg during the turmoil of the Second World War and the post-war period. Fides son, filmmaker Thomas Struck, discovered the suitcase in 2015 and inspected the historically spectacular content closely.
Struck’s rediscovered photos are of outstanding photographic quality and their excellent condition means they are a veritable little treasure trove. They bear witness to the visual development of the medium of photography between 1918 and 1933 and provide us with a special insight into the life and working world of the people in Hamburg and Altona in the early 1930s.
An exhibition of the Altonaer Museum in collaboration with the F.C. Gundlach Foundation and bpk-Bildagentur, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz.