Aenne Biermann [Anna Sibylla Sternefeld]: 60 FOTOS. 60 PHOTOS. 60 PHOTOGRAPHIES [Fototek 2]. Berlin: Klinkhart & Biermann, 1930. First edition. Slim quarto. Text in German, English and French. Perfect-bound stiff, photographically printed wrappers. Unpaginated [76 pp]. 60 plates, text and advertisements. Wrappers worn with chipping to spine heel and crown. Chip to rear panel. Small former owner stamp on front endpaper. Design and typography by Jan Tschichold. A very good copy.
7 x 10 softcover book with design and typography by Jan Tschichold and edited by Franz Roh, with Roh's introduction "The literary dispute about photography." The second — and final — volume in the Fototek series, and a highlight of the New Vision photography movement.
The well-known woman photographer has for some time past joined in the search for new possibilities in photography and has accomplished harmonious and finished work. — The Publishers
Photography makes aware for the first time the optical unconscious, just as psychoanalysis discloses the instinctual unconscious. — Walter Benjamin
Aenne Biermann (1898 -1933) was a self-taught photographer who worked in the the Bauhaus/ New Objectivity aesthetic that came to prominence in Weimar Germany with the publication of photographic books by Moholy-Nagy and Renger-Patzsch. Biermann lived only thirty-five years, and this was the only book of her work published during her lifetime. A few years after her death, the Nazis confiscated a significant portion of her photographs from her husband. Her place in the avant-garde photographic movement has been acknowledged in more recent times: In 1987 a monograph of her work was published in Berlin and in 1998 a catalogue was published in conjunction with an exhibition of her work at the Museum fur Angewandte Kunst.
The Circle of New Advertising Designers (ring neue werbegestalter) was a group who coalesced after the first statements on the new typography by Tschchold and Moholy-Nagy, and their purpose was the promotion of a common vision of the avant-garde. Ring neue werbegestalter intentionally echoed the name of The Ring, a group of Berlin-based architects which had been formed a few years earlier. The idea came from Kurt Schwitters and was trumpeted in a 1928 issue of Das Kunstblatt: "A group of nine artists active as advertising designers has formed under the presidency of Kurt Schwitters. Baumeister, Burchatz, Dexel, Domela, Michel, Schwitters,Trump, Tschichold and Vordemberge-Gildewart belong to the association."
Before forming The Ring, Schwitters had broadened his approach to visual art to include graphic design, even going through the avant-garde right of passage of designing a sans-serif typeface. The affiliation of The Ring appears to have been somewhat loose, its activities consisting manily of exhibitions, either promoting the group on its own or contributing to larger events, such as the Werkbund's Film und Foto in 1929.
In Heinz and Bodo Rausch's Gefesselter Blick (1930), The Ring's point of view was defined by Paul Shuitema, acknowledging that modern design involved the separation of hand and machine which previous generations had so strongly fought against: "the designer is not a draughtsman, but rather an organizer of optical and technical factors. His work should not be limited to making notes, placing in groups and organizing things technically."
Tschichold was more succinct: "I attempt to reach the maximum of purpose in my publicity works and to connect the single constructive elements harmoniously -- to design."