Karl Heinz Offermann, born in 1949, lives in Aachen, Germany, and works as a freelance photographer. He is self-taught. He found his early entry into photography, especially industrial photography, through many years as a technician at various research institutes of the RWTH Aachen.
About my work Up until today, my appreciation of technical minutiae in mechanical facilities remains a great source of inspiration. To me, it is a particularly appealing theme to picture mechanical functions and connections such that new points of view are opened up to the viewers. I am especially fascinated by old and traditional techniques. It is through this love of mechanical engineering and classical methods and processes that I created the series on industrial icons and Ruhrgebiet culture, facilitated through years of visits in the area and its surroundings.
In addition, I have dedicated myself for many years to the subject of street photography. Travels through France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Hungary, Czechia and Denmark offered many interesting motifs on this subject. Particularly interesting from a photographic point of view were the visits to Ireland, Scotland and New York, USA. The possibility to capture the picture of people in their environment and natural surroundings without any form of posed or beautified representation is a special kind of documentary photography that continually inspires me anew. Quote: I do not find the motifs, the motifs find me!
Through the proximity to the Rhenish lignite mining area, the subsequent loss of home through resettlement of residents due to the constantly expanding mining became another topic of mine. Here, with the help of documentary photography, an international climatic event was successfully captured that will continue to occupy people’s minds for a long time to come. I documented the slow death of the villages of Pier, Manheim and Morschenich and the associated fates of the affected people photographically for several years.
From 2016 – 2019, I documented the increasingly extensive protests by activists against demolishing more villages and settlements alongside the threatened demolition of the Hambach Forest, which was occupied by activists by erecting tree houses.
Always appealing to me are works that I create in my studio. In this way the series “Time over” developed, in which I depict things of everyday life, but which have changed through aging processes, external influences, and weathering so that they are hardly recognizable in their original function.
Exhibitions of my previous works took place in the Netherlands, Amsterdam, Belgium and Germany, among others.