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Photography, memory and identity: the émigré photographer Lisel Haas (1898-1989)

By Amy Shulman


This thesis explores the work of the German-Jewish photographer, Lisel Haas (1898 – 1989). It focuses on a selection of her portrait photographs spanning a period of almost 40 years, from before the Second World War to the early 1970s. Haas’s work has not been the focus of any publication to date; this thesis situates her within the fields of photography and exile studies by focusing on the significance of memory and identity. This approach places Haas within émigré photography rather than exile photography. The latter places emphasis on political persecution; this study rather concentrates on the formation of memory and identity of an émigré. The present work has utilised the extensive archival material of the uncatalogued Lisel Haas Collection at the Birmingham City Archives in order to construct a contextual basis for Haas’s work. This thesis has been influenced primarily by the work of Annette Kuhn and Marianne Hirsch whose research has developed an understanding of the significance of the relationship between photography and memory, particularly in light of the Holocaust. The study introduces an original approach to Haas’s work; it examines the role of photography in memory at the time of the Holocaust, developing a discussion surrounding the creation of memories in family photography before exploring the role of the photograph in the construction of the photographer’s identity

Topics: TR Photography, D839 Post-war History, 1945 on, NX Arts in general
Year: 2011
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