The Photographer in Front of the Camera / Der Fotograf vor der Kamera
Photographer Erich Lessing documented contemporary history with his pictures. His photograph of Leopold Figl standing on the balcony of the Belvedere palace presenting the signed Austrian State Treaty in May 1955 has been forever etched in Austria’s collective memory. Lessing, a member of the legendary photographic agency Magnum, is one of the most important photojournalists of the post-war era: His pictures of the Hungarian Revolution are contemporary documents that are as artistic as his portraits of European politicians, such as Konrad Adenauer and Nikita Khrushchev. In The Photographer in Front of the Camera, Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel accompany the still very active 90-year old and take the time to focus on the details - as Lessing believes artistic photography must. Small gestures and brief glimpses give the film a special charm, such as when the great photographer, when tying his tie, laments that the Windsor knot has gone out of fashion, and the fact that he preserves his analogue photographs in a digital archive. Good photography inspires us to continue reflecting on it, states Lessing. Similarly, The Photographer in Front of the Camera invites its audience to view the works of this extraordinary artist in a new light as well.