Photographer Thomas Hoepker – Early Works on Show

Thomas Hoepker, Love Birds, Rome, Italy, 1956, copyright Thomas Hoepker/Magnum Photos, courtesy Buchkunst Berlin

Beginning 30th September 2023, Galerie Buchkunst Berlin is presenting the new exhibition All Around the World – Unseen Colour & Early Black-and-White, with photographs by the legendary Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker.

Hoepker’s numerous unpublished early works, which are now being shown for the first time, were taken in Rio, Hong Kong, New York, Naples, and Paris. More than a decade before the term ‘New Colour’ entered the history of photography, Thomas Hopker was already photographing with Kodachrome and Ektachrome slide film in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and many countries in Europe.

Thomas Hoepker, Hong Kong, 1971, copyright Thomas Hoepker/Magnum Photos, courtesy Buchkunst Berlin

Thomas Hoepker (born 1936 in Munich) worked regularly from 1959 as a commissioned photographer for magazines and book publications. In 1974 he went to East Berlin as the first accredited photographer for Stern, where he temporarily worked as art director. In 1989, Hoepker was the first German photographer to become a full member of the Magnum Photos agency, which he headed as president from 2003 to 2007. Thomas Hoepker’s work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide. His world-famous portraits of Muhammad Ali are part of numerous book publications. Hoepker now lives and works in New York.


In the extensive bundles of unpublished slide films that Thomas Hoepker took around the world from 1959 onwards, during his photo documentations around the world, there are many shots in which colour represents an extended and dominant element of the pictorial composition, and takes on the role of narrative. Hoepker was usually on the go with two Leica cameras: one for black-and-white, the other for colour. The early colour photographs, which often defy the rules of photojournalism, describe through their multitude and artistic quality an independent view of the development of the world, and serve as corresponding contemporary witnesses in an abstract manner. They add new and unique shots to the seemingly endless canon of images in artistic photography. Hoepker’s multi-layered work is supplemented by a new reading through the presentation of these images for the first time.

Porträt Thomas Hoepker, Portrait, South Hampton, 2015, copyright Ana Druga

As a further highlight of the exhibition, a selection of black-and-white photographs, taken in Italy between 1956 and 1959 and among the photographer’s earliest series, will be presented in the Galerie Buchkunst Berlin to mark the publication of the photo book THOMAS HOEPKER – ITALIA.

THOMAS HOEPKER – ITALIA is published by the Buchkunst Berlin publishing house. Editors: Christine Kruchen, Thomas Gust, Ana Druga; Photos: Thomas Hoepker (124 black and white photos); Essay: Raúl Morales Barcia; Epilogue: Thomas Gust; 200 pages, hard cover, linen; Languages: German, English. 16.5 x 23.5 cm; Price: 45 EUR; ISBN 978-3-9819805-7-8. A limited deluxe edition with a hand proof by Thomas Hopker has been published for the book ITALIA. All photographs from Thomas Hoepker’s catalog raisonné can be purchased from Galerie Buchkunst Berlin.

Thomas Hoepker, Italia, 1956, copyright Thomas Hoepker/Magnum Photos, courtesy Buchkunst Berlin

Saturday, 28th October 2023, 4-5 pm
BOOK LAUNCH – ITALIA | Documentations from the 1950s and from the Thomas Hoepker Archive
Saturday, 1th8 November 2023, 4-5 pm
UNSEEN COLOUR | Discoveries from the archive
Saturday, 16th December 2023, 4-5 pm
THOMAS HOPKER Early years and developments in reportage photography 1960-1974

Buchkunst Berlin Gallery, Oranienburger Str. 27, 10117 Berlin
Opening times: Thursday-Saturday, 2-6 pm and by appointment
Contact: +49.(0)30.218 025 40,,

See also: Nicole Wassall’s Unicorns at Fiumano Clase

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