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11.09.2009 - 25.10.2009


Thomas Hoepker, born in Munich in 1936 is regarded as one of the most distinguished German photographers. From the 11th of September till the 25th of October 2009 WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie will be showing around 150 pictures taken over a period of more than five decades (1955 - 2008).

Hoepker succeeded in making images that have become anchored deep in our visual memories. Amongst them are shots of the events of the 11th of September 2001 in New York, his pictures of the famines in India in 1967 or Ethiopia in 1963, the Shah of Persia and Muhammad Ali whom Hoepker accompanied for a number of weeks in Chicago in 1966 having been commissioned by "stern", the news magazine. 

Thomas Hoepker regards himself as a photographer who always worked on commission and for print media: “I’m not an artist but someone who manufactures pictures” (Hoepker 1964). 
Although the medium has been fundamentally changed by digital practices, Hopeker emphasises the documentary quality of his photographs and insists on the authenticity and witness-like character of photography.

Even though Thomas Hoepker could be frequently found in politically critical places, in war zones and catastrophe areas he is not a sensation-seeking “incident” photographer who is set on catching the viewer unaware with shocking photographs. His position as a photographer is characterised much more as a sensitive, almost poetical recorder of situations. In his pictures Hoepker captures small human gestures with commanding professionalism. His images, part of the tradition of human interest photography, reflect a socially committed Weltanschauung strongly influenced by humanism and they have been often used in the battle against hunger, illiteracy and illness in Africa, Asia and South America.

Blick von Williamsburg, Brooklyn, auf Manhattan, 11. September 2001 © Thomas Hoepker
Muhammad Ali, Chigaco 1966 © Thomas Hoepker
Muhammad Ali, Weltmeister im Box-Schwergewicht, springt vom Geländer einer Brücke über den Chigaco River, 1966 © Thomas Hoepker
Muhammad Ali flirtet mit Belinda Boyd, seiner späteren zweiten Frau, in einer Bäckerei, Chigaco 1966 © Thomas Hoepker
Die frisch rasierten Rekruten müssen sich hautnah hintereinander aufstellen, Parris Island, 1970 © Thomas Hoepker
Alte Dame auf einem Festwagen bei der Parade zum 4. Juli, San Francisco, 1963 © Thomas Hoepker
Andy Warhol in seiner Factory am Union Square, New York, 1981 © Thomas Hoepker
Jasper Johns in seinem Haus in Upstate New York, 1990 © Thomas Hoepker
Alter Mann mit seinem Lieblingsvogel im Ritan-Park, Beijing, 1984
Mädchen mit dem japanischem Nationalsymbol auf der Stirn, Tokyo, 1977 © Thomas Hoepker
Hungersnot und Pockenepidemie, Dorfbewohner kommen aus ihren Hütten und betteln um Essen, Bihar, Indien, 1967 © Thomas Hoepker
Alte Frau im Schneesturm, Hamburg 1954 © Thomas Hoepker