25.10.2012 – 25.11.2012

Arno Fischer is an iconic figure in history of German photography. The ROSPHOTO exhibition presents ca. 140 pieces of the renowned master unveiling different periods of his work.

The starting point for the exhibition is one of Fischer’s early series, Situation Berlin. These photographs were made from 1953 to 1960, just before construction of the Berlin Wall. In 1961 they were rejected for publication, but it was this series that introduced the talented photographer to the society. His prophetic image Crack in the Wall,which was created in the early 1950’s became a symbol of the divided Berlin.

Documentary photography wasn’t Arno Fischer’s sole interest. After his failure with Situation Berlin he created a black-and-white series picturing German diva Marlene Dietrich, also on display at the exhibition. The actress loved these photographs so much that she asked Fischer to give her the negatives in a private letter.

This exhibition also includes images that were commissioned by the fashion magazine Sibylle published in the DDR. Indeed, Fischer and his wife Sibylle Bergemann made a revolutionary contribution to the genre of fashion photography. It was a common practice to shoot models in studio settings, for this kind of pictures was widely spread in fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle. Instead, the Fischers took models out to the streets and industrial interiors.

The last section of the exhibition is dedicated to Polaroids made in Gransee, Brandenburg, where Arno Fischer spent last years of his life. Refined, looking like watercolor paintings, these images of withered flowers and leaves, faded garden furniture comprise the Garden series, which was published as an album in Germany in 2007.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall Arno Fischer travelled around the world exploring new places, such as India and African countries. In Germany he is also known as a brilliant teacher who educated several generations of contemporary German photographers. Fischer taught master classes on photography until the last days of his life.

Arno Fischer’s students will lead master classes for young photographers before the exhibition opening. Registration is open at ROSPHOTO.


Arno Fischer was born on April 14, 1927, in Wedding, western borough of Berlin. He studied sculpture at the Berlin Weissensee School of Art and the Berlin State School of Fine Arts. In 1953 he started working as a photolab assistant at the Berlin Weissensee School of Art and later was promoted to head assistant. During that time he created his photo series Situation Berlin, that was suppressed for publication. In the mid 1960’s Fischer became one of the founders and leaders of the society of Eastern German photographers, Direkt. In the 1970’s he worked as a freelance photographer and on commissions for the fashion magazine Sibylle. He also travelled across East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the USA. Later he got a teaching position at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. In 1985 he married his colleague and student Sibylle Bergemann. In 2000 Fischer was awarded with Dr. Erich Salomon Prize of the German Photographic Association. In 2001 he co-founded a school of photography, where he taught until 2006. Arno Fischer died on September 13, 2011, at the age of 84 having outlived his wife by only 10 months.