Sibylle Bergemann (29 August 1941 – 2 November 2010) was a German photographer. In 1990, she cofounded the Ostkreuz photographers agency. She is remembered for documenting developments in East Berlin during the Communist era and for her international assignments for Stern and later for Geo.
Born in 1941 in Berlin where she was raised and educated, she first worked as a secretary for the East German periodical Das Magazin. Interested in art and culture, from 1966 she studied photography in the Weissensee district of Berlin under the photographer Arno Fischer, with whom she was married from 1985.
Career as photographer
After first contributing to leading East German periodicals of the time, Das Magazin and Sonntag, in the early 1970s, her photographs started to appear in the women's fashion magazine Sibylle where she soon developed her own style. Her portraits were not analytical but rather descriptive, showing people as they appeared in real life. She moved on from fashion to photograph first her own country, East Germany, and later the rest of the world. In 1990, together with Ute Mahler and Harald Hauswald, she founded the Ostkreuz agency, which now represents a score of photographers.
Perhaps Bergemann's most important legacy is the series of black-and-white photographs she took of everyday life in East Germany as it evolved over the years. Later, she compiled photographic reportages about New York, Tokyo, Paris and São Paulo; and even more recently, turning from black and white to colour, she travelled through Africa and Asia on assignments for Geo.
In 1994, Bergemann's talent was recognized when she became a member of Berlin's Akademie der Künste. In 2007, she held an exhibition of her work at the Museum für Photographie in Braunschweig. She explained her approach to photography in just a few words: "I'm interested in the edges of the world, not the centre."
Book contributions by Bergemann
This list is not complete.
- Die Stadt. Vom Werden und Vergehen / The City. Becoming and Decaying. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010. ISBN 978-3-7757-2659-7. (German)(English)
- Ostzeit. Geschichten aus einem vergangenen Land / Stories from a Vanished Country. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010. ISBN 978-3-7757-2486-9. (German)(English)
- "Sibylle Bergemann: Eine leise Künstlerin", Zeit Online, (German) 5 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- "Muere la fotógrafa alemana Sibylle Bergemann que documentó la vida en la RDA", ABC.es, (Spanish) 3 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- "Heinrich Riebesehl und Sibylle Bergemann gestorben", Kunstmarkt.com, 2 November 2010. (German). Retrieved 8 November 2010.