As far as no eye can see

So weit kein Auge reicht, Berliner Panoramafotografien aus den Jahren 1949-1952
TR661.M47 2008

Berlin Panoramas 1949-1952

I never saw this show “As far as No Eye Can See, Berlin Panoramas 1949-1952”at the Berlinische Galerie in 2008*, although I heard that it was incredible. I have only experienced this amazing  archives of panoramic images through the book.  This book is certainly incredible.  The book in our collection was a gift of Library committee Chair Evan Mirapaul (who has been extremely generous with books over the years) and I remember seeing this amazing book when it arrived in 2009. Now after the book has been nestled into the library for a couple of years I decided to pull it from the shelf and have another look.  It truly is quite something and I admit to being blown away.

The book has a German text, but it also has a booklet translation inserted. The story of these images is remarkable and the images themselves are sublimely phenomenal.

This is a story that begins with an anonymous man Fritz Tiedemann who was a trained surveying technician and a specialist for photographic surveying techniques who worked for the Landmark Protection Authority of the East Berlin city government.  Fritz Tiedemann was working in East Berlin during the period of 1948 to 1953 during which time he created an amazing archives of panoramic images.  In the summer of 1953 he was forced to flee East Berlin and later continued to work as a surveyor technician in Munster, Westfalen until his retirement. Fritz Tiedemann died in 2001.

In 2006 Berlin photographer Arwed Messmer found Tiedmann’s Berlin Archives in the East Berlin’s Bauverwaltung (today part of the architectural collection of the Berlinische Galerie). Using new media techniques Arwed Messmer’s intervention with these images resulted in this exhibition and book.

In the exhibition the images were reproduced in a very large scale, 1.25 meters high and up to 7 meters long.  As a person who is not too fond of the excessively large photograph I think this is probably one of the few occasions where it does actually make sense to make images that big. The book displays the panoramas with lovely fold-out pages and one really does get a sense of scale and the details within that scale. As an archivist I find this project stupendous and the most beautiful authentic touch for me is the inclusion of the highly detailed index cards.

* The Exhibition As far as No Eye Can See, Berlin Panoramas 1949-1952, photographs by Tiedemann, reconstructed and interpreted by Arwed Messmer was held Nov.2 2008 – Feb.22 2009 at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Germany.

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