Johannes Haile, Germany 1962

The 'With Different Eyes' exhibition reveals photographs by Johannes Haile (1927–2016), captured in Germany during his visit in 1962. Haile was one of the first Ethiopians to study photography in the United States. He acted as the official photographer of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In 1962, he was commissioned by the German Embassy in Ethiopia to capture images of postwar Germany during its industrial comeback. During his seven-week journey he visited East and West Berlin, the VW assembly lines in Wolfsburg, Munich and the Oktoberfest, the wine-growing town of Rüdesheim as well as many other places.

The photographs from Germany – exposing Haile’s subjective experiences – are now on display in the country for the very first time. His photos are sharing stories of schoolchildren, students and professionals, couples and families, as well as people working in factories, farms, educational institutions and laboratories. They narrate the different urban and rural realities of Germany.

Haile followed people from their workplaces to their homes, documenting deep insights into their everyday lives. Johannes Haile’s photographs are more than historic documents. The photographer from Ethiopia was able to see beyond cultural differences. Sharing the individual stories of the people he encountered, he created a sense of togetherness.

The exhibition was conceived by Ethiopian curator Meskerem Assegued.  She is the founding director of Zoma Contemporary Art Center (ZCAC), an eco-sensitive artist-in-residence project in Addis Ababa. Haile was her mentor and friend.

Coinitiated by Marie Luise Knott.

© Johannes Haile

Interview | Johannes Haile captured in pictures what the people in front of his camera felt: deep trust and empathy. His photographs take us on a journey to almost forgotten landscapes of memory. In this interview, Meskerem Assegued, curator and his longstanding friend, talks about her curatorial decisions and Haile's life with and for photography.

[] Johannes Haile, Deutschland 1962

Photo gallery | On 23 August 1962 Johannes Haile lands in Frankfurt am Main, bringing with him a list of contacts provided by the Ethiopian Rotary Club, several Leica cameras and his insatiable interest in people. More impressions of his journey through Germany:

Meskerem Assegued © Guenet Assegued

Memories | "Being photographed by Johannes Haile implied sophistication and culture. [...] He was a disciplined gentleman with high ethics and generosity." Read more about Johannes Haile in Meskerem Assegued's memories.

Mit anderen Augen – With Different Eyes. Deutschland in den 1960er Jahren – Fotografien von Johannes Haile. – Berlin: ifa, 2016. – 88 pp.

Mit anderen Augen – With Different Eyes. Germany in the Sixties – Photographs by Johannes Haile. – Berlin: ifa, 2016. – 88 pp.


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