Nomi Baumgartl - From Passion to Vision
She is considered one of Germany’s most renowned and multi-faceted photographers. The fragile interplay between people and nature is the primary focus of her current work: it is all about our obligation towards the future; and the impact that those living today will have on coming generations.
In her imagery, the photographer always presents us with the beauty of the world, which we should treat with respect and a sense of responsibility. With her spectacular Eagle Wings – Protecting the Alps project, she documents the grave evolution of climate change. Alpine glaciers hold the memory of the world’s climate history, and allow us to look, with humility, at nature’s powerful story. The photographer describes her undertaking as a “unique project on three levels” – joining together the earth, the airspace and “the great eye from outer space”. The bird’s eye view pictures – captured with the help of the eagle, Eli – provide particularly rare insight. This art project is made up of a combination of glacier image shots, taken with a mini camera attached to the back of an eagle, and high-resolution satellite images. A selection of fascinating photographs of the icy landscapes and the eagle offers us an excerpt.
Baumgartl’s photography demonstrates clearly the relationships that exist and link people, animals, and nature. She reveals the planet as a priceless treasure worth protecting, describing her work as a “homage to creation”. An accident that she had years ago allowed her to experience personally how fragile life can be. While she was convalescing, she got to know the Dolphin Aid Organisation and, from 2000 to 2001, she photographed encounters between people and dolphins in the Bahamas. This is also where the now iconic shots – with top model Tatjana Patitz, as well as Mickey Eskimo, Robbie Seeger and Francisco Goya of the world’s surfing elite at the time – were taken. The set of pictures, which celebrate harmony between people and nature, led to the development of the Yin & Yang series. The photographer found touching motifs that translate the principle of unity, consisting of two opposing parts, into strong symbolic images. Chris Gallucci, the legendary Elephant Man, who spent thirty years living in close symbiosis with the powerful bull elephant, Timbo, was also at the photo shoot in the Bahamas. In 2003, with her Leica, Nomi Baumgartl captured sensitive black and white pictures, showing the unique behaviour and relationship between the person and the animal. She was subsequently involved, as Visual Director, in the internationally-renowned documentary film The Elephant Man. A coffee-table book with the same title was published in 2007.
Baumgartl is a sensitive observer who produces wonderful portraits. This was evident in the portfolio that she conceptualised on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of her photographer friend, Andreas Feininger (1906-1999). She had met the legendary photographer in New York in 1983. During many visits over the following years, their dialogue – about photography, perception, world view and the elements of nature – fostered deep understanding of her fellow photographer and friend. The portfolio Baumgartl created in his honour was an insightful portrait, as well as an exciting reflection on the relationship between people and nature. This exhibition completes a full circle, from the early 1980s’ work to the photographer’s current images. The display also reflects Baumgartl’s ongoing interest in constantly looking at the world with new eyes.
13 May 2022 - 05 Oct 2022