in a relatively recent post on one of my new fave blogs, a cup of jo, i was happy to learn about german photographer albrecht tübke. jo deemed tübke “the alternative sartorialist”…and, at first glance, i can certainly see at least some connection between the two. both photographers source people from the street for their subject matter, and aesthetically, too there are similarities: straight on, documentarian style portrait photography is their game.
tübke takes stunning photographs of everyday, (sometimes very stylish) german people. as i see it, though, what sets tübke’s work apart from the aforementioned style shooter is this: tübke seems to choose to scout a decidedly diverse cross-section of subjects who appear to be a bit more ‘ordinary’ than the fashion insiders favored by the sartorialist. one could say tübke’s work is kind of about fashion in an abstract sense, as his subjects are clothed, and their clothing certainly speaks to and supports the story of who these people are…but any fashion depicted therein appears to be more idiosyncratic and personal, sometimes and often utilitarian, but not always current. and that it’s not current fashion doesn’t matter. tübke’s main focus seems to be depicting the essence of an individual and what makes them such. fashion takes a supporting role, not a starring one (as would be the case with the work of the sartorialist).
some portraits from albrecht tübke‘s portfolio:
(a related aside: when *i* look at tübke’s work, with it’s reverent, documentarian ethos/aesthetic, i immediately see parallels with the work of diane arbus…particularly because his work includes a series that focuses upon twins (see: arbus’s twins). unlike arbus, whose body of work focused heavily on individuals who lingered on the fringes of society (little people, giants, transvestites, and so forth), tübke’s work obviously focuses more on the everyday man, woman or child. but still…i see a link betwixt the two. just throwin’ that out there.)