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Photography & Program

The photographic images on this page were created in the analog era of photography, still, they are an important part of the »New Photography« this gallery is dedicated to. These works of »Generative Photography« represent a leap in evolution from camera to computer, the camera is no longer used to reproduce an image of reality but to generate one. »Generative Photography« emerged in the late 1960s, parallel to early computer art.

In 1968, photographer Gottfried Jäger coined the term »Generative Photography«. It was also the title of an exhibition held at the Kunsthaus Bielefeld in Germany 1968, presenting generative photographic works by Jäger as well as Kilian Breier, Pierre Cordier and Hein Gravenhorst.
Herbert W. Franke, the renowned German science fiction author, who is also a pioneer of computer art and experimental photography, describes »Generative Photography« as a forerunner of computer art. Together with Gottfried Jäger he published the book »Apparative Art« in 1973 (in German), which puts both art forms in one line »from kaleidoscope to computer«.

»Photography & Program« presents some early publications on »Generative Photography«, some of them self-published by Gottfried Jäger.



 Gottfried Jäger    

Influenced by Max Bense and his book on generative aesthetics, Jäger started to develop (back then: analog) programs in the late 1960s as creative tools to generate photographic images. See Wikipedia article on Concrete Photography (in German).

Gottfried Jäger and Hein Gravenhorst are both protagonists of generative photography. Furthermore Jäger is a professor for photography at FH Bielefeld, Germany, and the author of many articles and books on photography.

In 2014 Gottfried Jäger was awarded with the cultural prize of the German Photographic Society, DGPh.


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 Generative Photography    

In 1969 Gottfried Jäger self-published the folder »Generative Fotografie« including 16 picture plates. Eight plates show Jäger´s »Pinhole Structures«, and eight plates present generative works by Hein Gravenhorst. The accompanying text »Foundations of a Cybernetic Theory of Art« (in German) was contributed by Herbert W. Franke.


Generative Fotografie 0
Gottfried Jäger: Generative Fotografie
Folder including 16 picture plates and two pages of text
published in Bielefeld, 1969
offset-lithograph picture plates 29,8 x 21,2 cm
title printed on each plate
works generated: 1967 - 1969





Generative Fotografie 0 Generative Fotografie 0
Two plates by Gottfried Jäger from the folder »Generative Fotografie«
Images currently not available - see: Gottfried Jäger






Generative Fotografie 0 Generative Fotografie 0
Two plates by Hein Gravenhorst from the folder »Generative Fotografie«.







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 Pinhole Structures    

The program of this »Pinhole Structure« generated in 1967 is also the work´s title: »3.8.14.2.4.3«. The technique used is based on the Camera obscura in combination with a multiple lens technique, resulting in a multiple pinhole camera construction. This photographic apparatus is then manipulated or shifted according to defined parameters like exposure time, form and size of pinholes, which generates different structures on the photographic paper. Jäger´s pinhole structures were for example presented on the »tendencije 4« 1970 in Zagreb (today: Croatia) and are part of renowned photographic collections like DZ Bank Kunstsammlung.


Lochblendenstruktur 0
Image currently not available - see: Gottfried Jäger

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 Visual Systems      

In 1979 and 1980 Jäger developed a »Shift Program«. In this work phase within his generative photography he created the artist book, »Visuelle Systeme. Band 1.«, which includes a description of the program (in German).


Visuelle Systeme 0
Gottfried Jäger: Visuelle Systeme. Bd. 1.
artist´s book from the work phase »Shift Program / Schiebungsprogramm«
published in Bielefeld, 1980
print run: 50
numbered, signed
generated: 1979/80



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 Artist´s Profile

Gottfried Jäger
Born in 1937 in Burg, Germany, lives in Bielefeld, Germany.
after an apprenticeship as a photographer, he studied photography in Cologne, founded his own studio for photography and graphic design in 1967, since 1973 professor at FH Bielefeld, Germany
See his website: www.gottfried-jaeger.de

Hein Gravenhorst
Born 1937 in Berlin, studied photography, graphic design and film technology in Berlin. From 1970 lecturer at FH Kiel, Germany. Lives in Berlin.


Many group and solo exhibitions, e.g.:
»Generative Photographie« Kunsthaus Bielefeld, 1968
»tendencije 4« Zagreb, 1970
»Gottfried Jäger: Fotografie der Fotografie« Galerie Photo Edition, Berlin 2014

and e.g. publicized in:
Apparative Kunst. Herbert W. Franke und Gottfried Jäger (1973)
Generative Fotografie. Theoretische Grundlegung, Kompendium und Beispiele einer fotografischen Bildgestaltung. Gottfried Jäger, Karl Martin Holzhäuser (1975)
Concrete Photography / Konkrete Fotografie. Gottfried Jäger, Rolf H. Krauss, Beate Reese (2005)
A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine and the Computer´s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International. Hrsg. Margit Rosen (2011)
see also Links & Books

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Copyright Heike Werner
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