First published in 1954, Das Auge der Liebe (The Eye of Love) by the Swiss photographer René Groebli is a small book featuring images that were made while on honeymoon with his wife Rita in France.
The belated honeymoon of photographer Rene Groebli and his wife Rita brought the two for two weeks to Paris in 1952 and in the following year for a few days to Marseille. During these travels, some photographs were taken that Rene Groebli assembled later as a narrative essay . Originally this was a free artistic endeavour; the publication of these photographs was not planned. But in 1953 Rene Groebli worked on the dramatic composition of the sequences for a book: selection and juxtaposition of the images, introducing a plain page symbolizing daytime in the chronology.
Groebli did not just want to string together one image after another, his aim was to create a whole – the visual form of a tale. He then condensed the photographs created during the trip in the book sequentially in such a way that one gets the impression The Eye of Love would tell the story of a single day.
Rene Groebli did not want to document; he wanted to inspire associations. As a photographer he aimed at making feelings visible, convey an atmosphere, capture a moment, express happiness. On their honeymoon Groebli photographed more than the objectively visible. He photographed emotions, the ephemeral, intimacy, sensuousness … and the love for his wife Rita. With this book he created a photographic love poem, a work full of timeless poetry.
The influential U.S. Camera Annual wrote in 1955: “The Eye of Love is a tender photo-essay on a photographer’s love for a woman.” Groebli wanted to photograph the intangible: emotions as in The Eye of Love and movement and dynamism as in Rail Magic, his pioneering photo essay that was created in 1949 and in an interplay of smoke, smell, landscape, romance and mood that allegorised the French steam railways as symbols of power.
The Eye of Love concentrate on an emotional situation of short duration . The sequences of images impress through the beauty of motion, the interplay of silhouette, the subdued light, the deep shadows, the contrast of sharp and soft focus. One perceives still lifes, the interior of the hotel room, a view from the window, even the scene of a nearby cafe – but central is what the photographer observes with the eye of love: his wife Rita. The Eye of Love is a work full of intimacy and timeless poetry.
Rene Groebli, Das Auge der Liebe (The Eye of Love)
Republished by Sturm and Drang