Moises Saman

Deutschlandreise – Journey through Germany

Following the opening of his exhibition “Small World” in Paris in 1995, British photographer Martin Parr apparently received a fax from none other than Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of Magnum Photos, which said, “You are from a completely different planet to me.” He was referring to Parr’s satirical approach to photographing popular tourist destinations and the people who go there. Taken in the style of a personalized photo documentary, his pictures transcend the story and even the topic itself, making Parr, who had been accepted by Magnum just a short time before, a pioneer in the transformation of classical photo agencies in terms or their justification and function.

Four photojournalists, Olivia Arthur, Moises Saman, Peter van Agtmael and Paolo Pellegrin, have now compiled a similar “extended” photo documentary. Representing the younger generation of Magnum photographers, they were given the job of examining Germany and its citizens in the year of the parliamentary elections 2013 from the fresh, inquisitive perspective of an outsider. This joint project initiated by the Art Collection together with Magnum Photos has produced a portfolio encompassing 400 photographs. The pictures show Germany in a light that hardly makes them suitable as illustrations for a tourist advertising brochure. By placing these artists’ different perspectives and ways of working in juxtaposition, “Deutschlandreise” presents a picture of Germany that may seem unfamiliar and distant to some of its inhabitants, even in cases where they refer to the country’s way of dealing with its own past. But every now and again, we catch a glimpse of something we recognize after all: photographs that are of our country and are yet like “from a completely different planet.”

Moises Saman from Spain traveled through the north of Germany to Hamburg, Bremen and Bremerhaven, the Baltic coast and the island of Rugen. His black-and-white photographs show a dreary, rainy Germany with heavy clouds hanging over the isolated-looking dockyard workers and fishermen featured in his pictures. Saman was particularly fascinated by the lovingly tended attributes of petty bourgeoisie: Tidily draped decorative curtains hanging in the window are a recurring theme in the dark despondency of the northern German landscape.

Biographical information

1974

born in Lima, Peru and raised in Barcelona, Spain

1998

completes his studies in Communication Sciences and Sociology at California State University and moves to New York

2000–2007

staff photographer for Newsday

2004

receives the first of four World Press Photo Awards to date

since 2007

works as freelance photographer for, among others The New York Times, Human Rights Watch, Newsweek and TIME

2010

becomes a member of Magnum Photos

since 2011

extensive photographic documentation of the upheavals in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Tunisia, which leads to the publication of his photobook Discordia: The Arab Spring

2014

group exhibition “Deutschlandreise”, together with Paolo Pellegrin, Olivia Arthur and Peter van Agtmael, Deutsche Börse, Eschborn, Germany

lives and works in Cairo, Egypt and New York, USA