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Selfhood, Place, and Ideology in German Photo Albums, 1933-1945

Umbach, Maiken

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Abstract

Copyright © Central European History Society of the American Historical Association 2015. This article explores the significance of photography and photo-album making as practices that many Germans used to record their lives during the Third Reich. Millions of photos not only offer insights into everyday life under National Socialism: mass photography itself had a transformative effect, turning seemingly mundane actions into performances for the camera and into conscious acts of self-representation. The article also considers the relationship between amateur snapshots, on the one hand, and propagandistic and commercial photographs, on the other. Identifying connections between the genres, it argues that these are best understood as two-way processes of borrowing and (re-)appropriation, in which private subjectivity and public ideology constantly commingled. Particularly important in linking the two were photos of emotional or affective states, such as relaxation, exploration, introspection, and even melancholy, which were often defined or underscored by the ways in which both civilians and soldiers positioned themselves in relation to particular landscapes. The photographic archival record is highly varied, but such variation notwithstanding, photos helped cement immersive experience as the basis for individual and collective identity; this was central to the ideology of the National Socialist regime, even if it never wholly controlled its meanings.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2015-09
Journal Central European History
Print ISSN 0008-9389
Electronic ISSN 1569-1616
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 3
Pages 335-365
APA6 Citation Umbach, M. (2015). Selfhood, Place, and Ideology in German Photo Albums, 1933-1945. Central European History, 48(3), 335-365. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0008938915000783
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/S0008938915000783
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/central-european-history/article/selfhood-place-and-ideology-in-german-photo-albums-19331945/3373B43CD207B8C51991034EA250B52D
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information Copyright Cambridge University Press.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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