Youth initiations and trips to the Baltic Sea, demonstrations and allotment gardens, anniversaries of the German Democratic Republic and Christmas celebrations, a new car and the last day of work – these are some of the moments and events captured in private photo albums, which reflect both experiences and worlds in East Germany from a very individual perspective. The research and documentation project Biography and History: Private Photography in East Germany, 1980–2000 collects and examines photographs and photo albums that reveal not only ruptures, but also continuities on a personal, biographical, and family level both before and after 1989/90.

Between June and August of 2020, conversations about private photo albums were conducted in large and small cities throughout eastern Germany – Berlin, Dresden, Eisenhüttenstadt, Greifswald, Potsdam, Kleinmachnow, Kloster Veßra, Leipzig, Magdeburg and Rostock. During these conversations, registered participants were invited to look at photographs, photo albums, slides, short films, and similar materials with the project’s staff members and to tell their stories.

If you have photographs from this time or you have any questions about this project, please call us at 0151 10409096 or send us an email.

Note on the current Covid-19 situation: all conversations will take place after registration and in accordance with the official regulations to contain the pandemic. Conversations are closed to the public and will take place consecutively without album owners coming into contact with one another.

Initiated by historian of photography and curator Dr. Friedrich Tietjen and by cultural historian and curator Sophie Schulz, Biography and History: Private Photography in East Germany, 1980-2000 is organized by the Stiftung Reinbeckhallen and funded by the Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Deutsches Historisches Museum.