Profile

Christiane Zschommler

Photographer

I was born in East Berlin, growing up in the 1960s in a block of flats behind The Berlin Wall, where I was a self-taught photographer. Later, having qualified and worked as a chemistry and biology teacher, I devoted all my spare time to photography. My improvised black and white darkroom was a refuge to me, a timeless world. I focussed on grainy black and white street photography taken on my travels through Eastern Europe. In 1992 I received a grant to teach German in London. I felt overwhelmed by the change and unlimited opportunities. While completing a BA in Photography at the University of Westminster in the mid-90s my approach to photography changed radically: instead of capturing images, I began to create them. For my degree I created a series of self-portraits through darkroom manipulation reflecting on the impact of growing up directly opposite The Berlin Wall. I worked as a freelance photographer and became involved in collaborative projects.   Most of my photographs from 2013 to 2016 were taken on solitary walks. It seems this process acts as a catalyst for triggering memory’s. With my recent work I continue to focus on my experiences of totalitarianism, using kept notebooks, personal documents and government statistics as starting point. I create images by obscuring the content, following a process of layering or erasing parts of the document, then reducing them to fundamental shapes and forms until there is only a trace of the original page remaining. ​

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