Steidl, 2009

Joachim Brohm was among the first of a younger generation of Germans to discover in color photography new opportunities for self-expression. His Ohio photographs, made in 1983 and 1984 while he was living in the state as a student and Fulbright scholar, show cluttered yards and houses and focus on apparently trivial and banal scenes of everyday American life. As one commentator puts it, “Brohm’s images seem strangely empty. Their centers seem to have fled; a surface has appeared in front of the camera’s lens that surrounds the actual image.” At the time, such mundane scenarios were considered unworthy of photographic documentation, but today this approach constitutes almost an entire genre of its own. This precocity of subject and the use of color photography make the Ohio series gathered here a significant milestone in the history of photography.