Miron Zownir, Untitled from the series Berlin Noir, 1977-2016

Artist Talk: Miron Zownir

Moderated by Dr. Candice M. Hamelin
26.11.2020

Over the past forty years, Miron Zownir has traversed the streets of Berlin and used his camera to capture people, places, and scenes often omitted from the mainstream media. His experiences in the ever-changing city since the late 1970s and his, at times, graphic and shocking, black and white photographs that convey them will be the subject of this artist talk. The talk, with moderation by the curator of the exhibition Berlin, 1945-2000: A Photographic Subject, Dr. Candice M. Hamelin, will be held in German.


Miron Zownir (b. 1953 in Karlsruhe)

is a self-taught photographer, filmmaker, and writer. In 1975, he moved to West Berlin, a city that was then isolated, highly subsidized, and filled not only with punks, squatters, drug users, artists, and young West German men avoiding military conscription, but also with endless possibilities. Staying for five years before moving abroad, he chased and framed the city’s underbelly on its streets and in its gritty bars, S&M clubs, brothels, gay haunts, and subway stations. Part of the series Berlin Noir (1977–2016), his photographs, a selection of which are shown in the Reinbeckhallen, picture an apocalyptic-looking city whose residents are in desperate need of a shower or good night’s rest, sometimes both; searching for their next fix or tryst; seeking adventure and outlets to relieve their aggression; and against the authorities and the status quo.

Often referred to as the poet of radical photography, Zownir returned to Berlin in 1995. Since then, the city has served as both his home and photographic subject, particularly during the corona pandemic, when its streets and squares were either empty or filled with protesters. His photographs have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions and have caught the attention of journalists, art historians, and curators from around the globe. In recent years and in addition to his growing number of films and novels, Zownir has published several photobooks, including Down and Out in Moscow, Ukrainian Night, NYC RIP, all from 2015, Berlin Noir (2017), and Romania Raw (2020).