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Laura Noble, London Independant Photography, Nr. 9, Summer 2008
Photobooks: Recommendations

This extraordinary book is well worth every penny and more. Atget photographed old Paris as a subjective record of a place he loved which was soon to change, thus preserving the memory for generations to come. Koppelkamm observes and records townscapes and buildings in Berlin just after the Berlin wall fell in the early 1990's – however returning to re-photograph them over a decade later. By positioning his camera in the same place for each location we are witness to the incredible changes that have taken place in the intervening years. Often the buildings have been restored to a former beauty not evident in his previous photographs but to a time when they were built.

This is more than a simple record but a revealing social document. The cars parked in the street are notable from one decade to another as the separation of East and West dissolves. Remarkably stark in contrast – we can view these photographs in both a a pre and post war context – or economically in a pre and post capitalist context. Repeated viewing is recommended. Nostalgia has its part to play as often the dilapidation of the buildings procures romantic notions with their antiqued beauty. This book is fascinating on so many levels: photographically, architecturally, historically and socially.