Helga Paris. Photography
From the series "Russian Veterans of World War II", New York, 1995 © Helga Paris
From the series "Russian Veterans of World War II", New York, 1995 © Helga Paris
From the series "Buildings and Faces. Halle, 1983-85" © Helga Paris
From the series "Buildings and Faces. Halle, 1983-85" © Helga Paris

Helga Paris


The work of Helga Paris (*1938) occupies an outstanding position in German photography. Alternating between single images and series, it presents a pictorial record of German history encompassing more than 30 years. With her both strict and affectionate eye, Paris reports on life in the state that was founded as the Workers' and Peasants' State in 1949 in the aftermath of the Second World War and existed east of the Cold War divide until 1989.
Paris is interested in the commonplace and sometimes banal moments of interaction and togetherness: postures, looks, gestures, movements, surface textures and rooms that testify as much to the circumstances, stories and experiences of people and things as to the way of dealing with these circumstances.
Thanks to her special talent for photographing neglected streets and decaying houses with the same compassionate and affectionate rigour as pub customers and playing children, Paris endows people and objects with a special dignity.
In producing this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, ifa is resorting to the show at the Sprengel Museum Hannover in 2004 and the monograph published on the occasion.

Inka Schube


  • 1938
    born in Gollnow (Pomerania)
  • 1956–1960
    studied at the Fachschule für Bekleidung, Berlin
    Lecturer in costume design history; worked as commercial artist and photographic lab associate
  • 1967
    self-educational photographic activity
  • 1972–1990
    member of the Association of Visual Artists (Verband Bildender Künstler) of former German Democratic Republic
  • 1996
    member of the Berlin Academy of Arts
  • lives in Berlin
  • Artists' Database
Helga Paris: Winsstrasse with Pigeon, 1970s, photo/©: Helga Paris

Extract from the exhibition catalogue

The Pervasive Postwar Mood   

ifa | Helga Paris has built up body of work rooted in her own biography that has become increasingly concentrated over the years and invested with a huge communicative potential. Her pictures have an additional psychological quality that permits identification in a unique way. This quality derives from Paris’s respect for and appreciation of her subjects, which her pictures in turn are capable of expressing. By Inka Schube

ifa | Exhibition premiere at the Gallery for Contemporary Art (GfZK) in Leipzig

Exhibition catalogue

Helga Paris. Photography – Stuttgart: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, 2012. – 208 pp.

Helga Paris

Photography. – Stuttgart: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, 2012. – 208 pp. order

Coming up:

06.09.2018 – 27.09.2018
Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
01.02.2019 – 17.03.2019
Zagreb, Croatia