Capturing Society's Selective Memory: Rainer Elstermann & Paul Kranzler

© Rainer Elstermann @ ART LOVE AFFAIR A/A
© Rainer Elstermann @ ART LOVE AFFAIR A/A

How we remember the past——what we choose to commemorate and what we selectively forget——says a lot about our present values. Documenting the dilemmas and discussions inspired by historical events is the focus of two new and noteworthy photography projects from A/A artists.


For Stern magazine's ongoing look at the battles that lead to Napoleon's ultimate defeat at Leipzig in 1813, Rainer Elstermann photographed a regiment of re-enactors authentically outfitted as period Russian soldiers. How were battles fought 200 years ago? Up close and personal. Tight formations ensured direct engagement with opposing forces—a fighting style distinctly different from modern warfare's pilotless drones and distant airstrikes. These re-enactors are certainly not prepared for anything more than playacting, but their sharpened bayonets and readied muskets still provide a sobering reminder: ultimately wars are fought by soldiers, individuals who experience very real violence on the battlefield. See the photo and short report, “Der Krieg von gestern” (The War from Yesterday), in the June 20th issue of Stern.



Since 2009 Paul Kranzler has photographed the gravesite of Alois and Klara Hitler, better known as the parents of a vicious mass murderer who plunged the world into history's deadliest war. For more than a century the burial plot was marked by a rather modest headstone and tree. Only after their infamous son rose to power did the grave become a pilgrimage site for Hitler Youth, Göring, and Goebbels up to present-day neo-Nazis. In this week's Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Paul documents the continuing struggle to prevent the site from becoming a place to honor Adolf Hitler's atrocities. In 2012 the local congregation removed both the tombstone and tree, but the parents remain interred beneath a barren patch of gravel, conspicuous in an otherwise filled 350-year-old graveyard. The article, “Die Erinnerungslücke” (The Memory Gap), appears in the June 21st issue of SZ-Magazin, including a slideshow of Paul's fascinating photographs.

Work with Rainer, Paul, or any of the talented artists at ART LOVE AFFAIR A/A by contacting:

+49 (0)30 820 761 41

+49 (0)151 223 403 02



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