Beyond the Battlefields: Käthe Buchler’s Photographs of Germany in the Great War

05th May 2018

 UH Galleries presents the face of Germany during World War One seen through the eyes of the German photographer Käthe Buchler (1876-1930). Beyond the Battlefields is Buchler’s first exhibition in the UK and brings together the largest selection of her photographs ever exhibited outside Germany.

The exhibition showcases a unique series of images of everyday life before, during and after the war. Her photographs are part of the collection of the Museum of Photography in Braunschweig – where she lived and worked.

Different picture cycles examine the care of orphaned children and wounded troops, Germans at work and at leisure – including a fascinating series made late in the war entitled ‘Women in Men’s Jobs’. Buchler presents the dislocations of war along with striking moments of human warmth, in so doing she offers us a fascinating window on the preoccupations of ordinary Germans, living and working hundreds of miles away from the fighting.

Buchler was an early adopter of the ‘Autochrome’ process (the world’s first colour photographic process) and colour imagery starts to appear in her work as early as 1913. The exhibition at UH Galleries is the final leg of a UK touring exhibition which has visited The University of Birmingham and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, as well as the Grosvenor Gallery at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Buchler’s photographs offer fascinating comparisons with images and memorabilia from the same period in Britain. They pose searching questions about the class and status structures of Wilhelmine German society and the role of women as Europe’s dynastic empires were gave way to revolution, chaos and the Second World War.