OSTKREUZ was founded by seven East German photographers in East Berlin in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in a Germany that had not yet been reuniﬁed. Today, OSTKREUZ is the most renowned photographer-run photography agency in Germany and has a total of 26 members.
The OSTKREUZ photographers all work both on commission and on freelance projects and realize joint exhibition projects. They are united by an artistic-documentary visual language and an orientation towards humanistic auteur photography - and this is also the premise for new members to be accepted into the agency in the ﬁrst place.
More than 30 years of political and social development in Germany before and after the fall of communism have been continuously recorded by the various generations of OSTKREUZ photographers since the agency was founded. The agency thus has a comprehensive image archive of signiﬁcant, photographic contemporary documents of a third of a century, ranging from the 1980s to the present day.
Based on this approach, the OSTKREUZ Exhibition on the festival theme "roots" shows twelve photographic positions emblematic of this epoch.
The principles of the founding photographers Sibylle Bergemann, Harald Hauswald, Ute Mahler and Werner Mahler stand like the roots of a tree as the foundation for OSTKREUZ.
These have grown steadily and, like branches, enter dialogue with the other generations of photographers in this exhibition.
Combined with the positions of the four founders the works of following OSTKREUZ members are on view: Jörg Brüggemann, Sibylle Fendt, Annette Hauschild, Thomas Meyer, Frank Schinski, Jordis Antonia Schlösser, Linn Schröder and Heinrich Völkel. Like the roots of a tree, the OSTKREUZ photographers do not remain on the surface of their subjects in their journalistic and artistic approach but delve into the depths of the events. They are all committed to the original idea of OSTKREUZ, turning their cameras at the people and their lives, while looking attentively at the present to record contemporary events shaping history. Thematically based on this credo, this exhibition presents 12 strong, independent positions like a tapestry of pictures - and at the same time tells a short, multi-faceted contemporary history of Germany over the last 35 years, from the origins of the agency to the present day. This exhibition is part of the 11th edition of Image Festival 2023, in collaboration with the Goethe Institut, Daraat al Tasweer, Ostkreuz, German Embassy, National Gallery.