Thomas Hoepker was 27 years old when he set out on his ambitious journey across the United States—one that took him from coast to coast and back again over the course of three months and resulted in thousands of photos. The year was 1963 and Hoepker had been commissioned by the German magazine Kristall to “discover” America through his camera. The photo reportages he made, published in five issues of the magazine across dozens of pages, revealed Hoepker’s complex, skeptical and sometimes melancholy view of the American everyday, in big cities, small towns and all in between. His was an unromanticized vision in which the decadent existed alongside the desolate, the glitter with the grit.
As much as Hoepker recognized that the problematic American dream could go unfulfilled, he was fascinated with the country (settling in New York in 1976), and in 2020—at the age of 84 and after a successful career as a photojournalist and president of Magnum Photos—he once again set out on a road trip throughout the US. The Way It Was. Road Trips USA juxtaposes Hoepker’s color photographs from this trip with his original black-and-white images, taking us on a journey both through his changing sense of America and through time.
Thomas Hoepker was born in Munich, Germany in 1936. He studied art history and archeology, then worked as a photographer for Münchner Illustrierte and Kristall between 1960 and 1963, reporting from all over the world. He joined Stern magazine as a photo-reporter in 1964. Hoepker worked as art director for Stern in Hamburg between 1987 and 1989, when he became a full member of Magnum. Specializing in reportage and stylish color features, he received the prestigious Kulturpreis of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie in 1968. Among many other awards for his work, he received one in 1999 from the German Ministry of Foreign Aid for Death in a Cornfield, a TV film on Guatemala. Hoepker currently lives in New York. He shoots and produces TV documentaries together with his second wife, Christine Kruchen.
Thomas Hoepker : The Way It Was : Road Trips USA
Edited by Freddy Langer
Text by Freddy Langer
Book Design: Freddy Langer, Holger Feroudj, Matthias Langner
192 pages, 436 images
8.5 x 11 in. / 21.5 x 28 cm
Hardback / Clothbound
US$ 50.00 / €45.00
Release Date USA: July, 2022