Paolo Pellegrin

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.”

Paolo Pellegrin traveled to East Germany. Besides Berlin and its Holocaust monument, his attention was drawn to the devastation of the landscape by the open brown coal pits in Welzow in Brandenburg, which he captured in cinematic wide-angle panoramas.

Biographical information

1964

born in Rome, Italy

1980s

studies Architecture at l'Università la Sapienza and Photography at l'Iistituto Italiano di Fotografia, both in Rome

1995

receives the first of ten World Press Photo Awards to date

2000

receives a Hasselblad Foundation Grant for Photography

2000–2010

works as a contract photographer at Newsweek

2005

becomes a member of Magnum Photos

2007

receives the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, New York

2013

honoured with the Dr. Erich Salomon Award by the DGPH – German Society for Photography, Cologne, Germany

2014

group exhibition “Deutschlandreise”, together with Olivia Arthur, Moises Saman and Peter van Agtmael, Deutsche Börse, Eschborn, German

lives and works in New York, New York, USA and Rome, Italy.