'Beyond the Battlefields' is a series of images by German photographer Käthe Buchler (1876-1930). The photographers depict Germany before, during and after the First World War. The series is part of the collection of the Museum of Photography in Braunschweig, where Buchler lived and worked. The series is currently touring the UK to commemorate the centenary of the conflict and its legacy.
The exhibition is co-curated by Manchester Metropolitan University historian Professor, Melanie Tebbutt, and Manchester School of Art Media Professor, Jacqueline Butler.
Tebbutt explains; Buchler’s carefully choreographed images chronicled convalescing soldiers, children collecting for recycling campaigns, and babies in war nurseries and are a documentary homage to how ordinary women and children were rising to the challenge of food, labour and material shortages on the home front. Buchler’s calm, disciplined interpretation of civilian life, distant from the violent upheavals of military action at the front, suggest empathy and belief in the human spirit.
Buchler came from a wealthy and well connected background that allowed her access to some of Germany’s most advanced photographic equipment. She was an adopted the world's first colour photographic process, ‘Autochrome’ as early as 1913. These images highlight Buchler's artistic skills as an 'ameteur' photographer and feature in the exhibition.
Jacqueline Butler, Head of Media at Manchester School of Art the importance of Autochrome in Buchler's development as a photographer; This allowed her to develop a visual and aesthetic vision, possibly influenced by her earlier enthusiasm for drawing, oil and watercolour painting. Lyrical family portraits and thousands of studies of flowers and landscapes testify to a comfortable bourgeois life both before and after World War One.
'Beyond the Battlefields: Käthe Buchler’s Photographs of Germany in the Great War’ is on display between 19th March - 5th May 2018 at the University of Hertfordshire Galleries, Hatfield.
Quotes sourced from Katy Cowan's article.