Edmund Kuppel: The Cabinet of Ferdinand von Blumenfeld
Sat, February 14, 2009 – Sun, March 22, 2009

Until into the 1970s, in many bistros in Paris, one wall was covered with landscape photos. These large-format pictures were the first to integrate photography into a profane interior accessible to the public. Ferdinand von Blumenfeld, who rumors cite as the bistro photograph, took pictures of these landscapes with his own specially developed rearview mirror camera. This special method allowed him to capture in the same shot, the picture in front and the space behind the camera.

Because von Blumenfeld photographed the bistro landscapes, it was no longer mandatory that a landscape photo be actually a photo of a landscape. While he did indeed reveal the true origin of the photo with his synoptic photo technique, he nonetheless willingly let himself be carried away by the charm of the photographed landscapes, which aren’t really landscapes, to fantastical tales and journeys that correspond entirely with reality. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to assume that Ferdinand von Blumenfeld traveled so widely.

The installation The Cabinet of Ferdinand von Blumenfeld represents the new world of his arising from this confusion. The installation shows more than 300 photos as well as texts and two large-format photo books by Edmund Kuppel: »Geschichten vom Bistrotfotografen« (vol. 1, 1994) and »Reisen und Ausflüge vom Bistrotfotografen« (vol. 2, 2008). In these books, the stories of the pictures of the original landscapes mix with the photographer's witness accounts on photographing his reproductions.

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Medienmuseum