© Hein Gorny / Adolph C. Byers, 1945-46, Aerial Photos of Berlin
German photographer Hein Gorny and the American Adolph Carl Byers photographed the city’s most famous buildings and architectural ensembles from the air and from the ground. Gorny and Byers were working on a book called "In Memoriam", which was never published.
PHOTOBOOK: HOMMAGE À BERLIN - PHOTOGRAPHS 1945/46
In 2011, the pictures of the ruins were published in the book “Hommage à Berlin – Photographs 1945/46" (by Collection Regard) and are supplemented by the work of German photographer Friedrich Seidenstücker whose photographs were amongst those in Gorny’s estate. See from the air, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the other places remain forever etched in time, witness to the ravages of the war.
Read an interview with Hein Gorny’s son Peter about the aerial photos here: English / German. Here’s a short excerpt:
"My father worked as an advertizing and wildlife photographer and hardly ever took photos of the city. But this was his planned book on Berlin, showing pictures of the city before and after the war. (…)
These were the first, if not only, photos of Berlin taken by a German photographer just a few months after the end of the war. At the time, in the winter of 1945/46, the airspace over the city was tightly controlled by the Allies, and German nationals were banned from flying over Berlin. (…)
He was traveling with an American military photographer, Adolph Carl Byers, who had come to Berlin in the summer. Somehow Byers managed several times to sneak my father into a small American plane. He took several trips during autumn and winter 1945/46. (…)
Before he pressed the shutter release, my father composed the photos in his mind. To position the Leica or Rolleiflex at the right angle, they circled several times around a site. For him the most important thing about these shots was the shadows. Without shadows, my father told me, aerial photographs look lifeless. Once he called off a flight because clouds suddenly blocked out the sun. He was incredibly picky when the light and shadow weren’t right.” (Peter Gorny)
Today, these pictures are of enormous historical value. Berlin has resurrected itself out of the ruins - resurrected itself from the ashes of utter despair. It was clearly an achievement bordering on the miraculous when looking at these pictures. Berlin has not only resurrected itself - it has blossomed and has assumed a deeply important place in the heart of Germany, Europe and the world.
More photos and information here, here and here.
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