Continuity and steadfastness are the true hallmarks of the great photographers. Clergue with his nudes and Gitans, Beard with elephants and African women, Fontana with patterns of color, Bresson the human condition, Capa the pains of action, and, since I have known her for 40 years, Herlinde Koelbl seeing depth of connections where others see only subject matter. Here, in her 30-year study of a remarkable woman of the 20th and 21st centuries, Angela Merkel, she sees character, passion, solidity, carefully masked determination (never ambition), and perhaps that most elusive of connections to all she achieved, motherhood or at least a desire to act as a mother should. Herlinde captures softness where tabloid photojournalists seek to find iron, sees intelligence where others look for ambition, and discovers the real woman, not the fake news’ ideal used to promote agendas. Like the great photographers whose footsteps she treads carefully, Herlinda has no agenda, she only seeks truth, laid out, visible, welcomed. A remarkable work, well deserved of the accolades it is garnering.
On the publication of the monograph “Herlinde Koelbl. Angela Merkel. Portraits” (Taschen, 2021)
Herlinde Koelbl. Angela Merkel. Portraits 1991–2021
Published by Taschen
Hardcover, 11.8 x 11.8 in., 5.91 lb, 248 pages
Multilingual Edition: English, German
Also available as an Art Edition of 125 copies (No. 1–125), with the print Angela Merkel, 1994/2018, signed by Herlinde Koelbl