Contributions to a History of Photography in Austria (volume 12)

»Serving Racial Politics«: Anna Koppitz’s Photographs for Reich Minister R. Walther Darré

Contributions to a History of Photography in Austria (volume 12)

Magdalena Vuković (ed.): »Serving Racial Politics«. Anna Koppitz’s Photographs for Reich Minister R. Walther Darré, contributions by Elke Fuch, Gesine Gerhard and Magdalena Vuković; Salzburg: Fotohof edition, 2017, 120 pages, 53 b/w and color plates, € 12,50

»I gladly promised your Minister to become involved in the blood issue and hope that I will not disappoint him. Whether portrait or nude photography comes down to the same thing for me; the only difficulty lies in finding the right people.«

Anna Koppitz, 1940

Photography was Reich Minister R. Walther Darré’s preferred medium when it came to illustrating and disseminating his blood-and-soil ideology. Staged in front of the camera, its protagonists were athletic young peasants of both sexes who were specially trained at the Reich School Burg Neuhaus in Brunswick. Their bodies served as a projection surface for Darré’s utopian notions of the »Nordic race« and peasantry as Germany’s genetic future. The Viennese photographer Anna Koppitz, the widow of Rudolf Koppitz, renowned in the same field as his wife, was mustered into the service of the Reich Minister’s project of translating Nazi ideologemes into pictures. Her works both followed in the vein of her husband’s sophisticated studies of the human body and were modeled on the sports photography of that time in the style of Leni Riefenstahl—a highly explosive mixture that was perfectly suited for the National Socialists’ propaganda purposes.

 

German edition

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