Hanns Zischler is well-known as an actor and journalist. Since 1970 he has also worked as a photographer in addition to his other professions. Since the 1990s and his purchase of a Rigby pin-hole-camera (4 x 5 inch) his photographic work has increasingly focused on pin-hole photography.
»What I try to do with this kind of photography is to outwit immobile objects through the playful flow of moving elements (wind, waves, and clouds—the gods of the myths), to tame them into a picture of a moment in time (two-minutes and longer) and coax them into the box, literally domesticating them on sheet film. ›The sun brings all to light,‹ said Adelbert von Chamisso. This maxim sufficiently describes my work with the camera obscura. My choice of motifs is accompanied by almost an indescribable intuition, which surpasses technical speculations on the event—the play of shadows, intensity of color, or degree of blurred motion. An essential requirement is quiet observation, which comes before deciding on the place to take the photograph and its lighting conditions. More light particles reach the surface directly opposite the aperture than that around the edges, so one ultimately sees the exposure as an emanating distribution of light moving from the bright, solar center of the image out towards the increasingly dark edges. For physical reasons, the question of focus is completely irrelevant in this type of photography.« (Hanns Zischler)
camera obscura: The British precision engineer Bob Rigby produces so-called »pin-hole« cameras in the classical formats of 4 x 5 inch and 10 x 13 inch. These are rectangular, tightly fitted tongue and groove oak boxes with a sheet of brass containing a precisely drilled hole—an aperture of 1/164—in the middle of the front (with an external cap) and an open back for securing and changing the sheet film cassettes. Two screw holes in the casing make it possible to attach the camera to a tripod for vertical and horizontal formats. Since there is no external viewfinder on the camera, one must rely on experience when determining the framing of the image (with an opening of circa 105 degrees). The same is true for the duration of the exposure.
Hanns Zischler (*1947 in Nuremberg) has been living and working in Berlin since the late 1960s. As an actor he has worked with directors such as Wim Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Steven Spielberg. In 2006 he founded the publishing house Alpheus. In addition to numerous essays, his novel Kafka geht ins Kino (Kafka Goes to the Movies) was published in 1996 by Rowohlt. In 2010 Zischler published Schmetterlingskoffer (Butterfly Suitcase) by the artist Hanna Zeckau and Vorstoß ins Innere – Streifzüge durch das Berliner Naturkundemuseum (Penetrating the Interior – Forays into the Berlin Natural History Museum) by Ulrich Moritz und Agnieszka Pufelska. In April he presented his two latest publications: Berlin ist zu groß für Berlin (Berlin is too Big for Berlin) (Galiani Berlin) and, written with Elke Schmitter, Galerie der Namenlosen (Gallery of the Nameless) (Alpheus Verlag). In 2009 he received the Heinrich Mann Prize of the Academy of the Arts, Berlin. In March the author received the Prize of German Literary Centers (Preis der Deutschen Literaturhäuser) for his work and achievements in the field of culture.