ERICH RETZLAFF (1899-1993) is a name almost forgotten in the history of photography, yet, in the early twentieth century, Retzlaff was a prolific and celebrated photographer with several major volumes of his photographs published between the two world wars. In addition to his black and white studies of German workers, landscapes and peasants, Retzlaff was one of the first photographers to use the revolutionary 'Agfacolor Neu' colour film introduced in Germany in October 1936. Focusing on his photographic output from the turbulent years between the nadir of the Weimar republic and the downfall of the Third Reich, this book (produced to accompany the touring exhibition of the same name) examines Retzlaff’s work as part of a visual discourse that emerged from an intellectual milieu deeply affected by the parascience of physiognomy. Ideological as his work was, Retzlaff's photographs are significant as cultural artifacts from a pivotal era of social, political, and economic change in German history. The book is richly illustrated with full page black and white plates (including work from Aberystwyth University's School of Art Collection and the collection of the Münchner Stadtmuseum) and, for the first time in print since the 1940s, 20 full colour plates of Retzlaff's groundbreaking Agfacolor work. The book also contains an introductory text by Rolf Sachsse, and an essay by Wolfgang Brückle.
Born in England in 1965. Moved to South Africa in 1982. Studied photography, photographic theory and photographic history as an undergraduate and postgraduate in South Africa (ND, NHD) and Wales (PhD). He has been a lecturer since 1991 (South Africa and the UK). He is a practising photographer (black and white darkroom photography) and a researcher into (in particular) aspects of the influence of western esotericism on photographic history especially the effect of 'para-sciences' on photographic imaging.
E r i c h R e t z l a ff Published February 20, 2015