Hans Finsler (1891-1972) is among the best-known proponents of the New Objectivity movement in photography. As the first photography teacher at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich (1932-1957) and a working photographer of architecture and objects, Finsler played an important role in the visual communication of modernism and influenced Swiss photography well into the postwar period.
Born in Germany, Finsler emigrated to Switzerland in 1932, where he was instrumental in spreading media-oriented modern photography throughout the country from his base in Zurich. After 1945, this influence was felt in neighboring countries as well. Hans Finsler und die Schweizer Fotokultur examines Finsler's work for the Swiss Werkbund and his collaboration with important architects, designers, and Swiss companies (including Wohnbedarf, Porzellanfabrik Langenthal, Embru, and Heberlein). As head of the legendary first Swiss photography class, Finsler, together with typography and photo montage teacher Alfred Willimann, exerted a seminal influence on subsequent generations, demonstrated here by examples of work by his students Werner Bischof, René Burri, Serge Libiszewski, Anita Niesz, Ernst Scheidegger, Emil Schulthess, and Michael Wolgensinger. At the same time, these photographs point to the growing contrasts between Finsler's approach and the emerging photojournalism.
Texts by the editors and by Christoph Bignens, Walter Binder, Verena Huber, Bruno Maurer, Arthur Rüegg, and Daniel Weiss.