Germany 1898 – 1983
gelatin silver photograph 16.1 h x 23.0 w cm
Accession No: NGA 89.2262
[The camera] may be said to make a picture of whatever it sees, the object glass is the eye of the instrument – the sensitive paper may be compared to the retina.
William Henry Fox Talbot, The pencil of nature
In the text accompanying the plate of glassware in The pencil of
nature, Talbot makes the analogy between the camera lens and the
human eye: Hajek-Halke makes the analogy pictorial by replacing
his eye with the camera lens. That what the camera achieves is through
the photographic process being filtered through the imagination
of the photographer is certainly made clear in Optics. He was a
leader of experimental photography in Germany in the 1920s and he
was known for his photomontage work, inspired by the ideas of the
Dadaists and Surrealists.
Later Hajek-Halke principally created photograms, camera-less images
created through the objects being placed on light sensitive paper,
and what he termed Lichtgrafiken or light diagrams. Finally, he
even experimented with object-less photography, making luminograms,
which recorded paths of light.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010