Sibylle Bergemann

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Sibylle Bergemann
Selfportrait Sibylle Bergemann.jpg
Self portrait Sibylle Bergemann
Born29 August 1941
Died1 November 2010
Spouse(s)Arno Fischer (1985)

Sibylle Bergemann (29 August 1941 – 2 November 2010) was a German photographer. In 1990, she co-founded 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.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1941 in Berlin where she was raised and received clerical training in East Berlin between 1958 and 1960 and she first worked as an editorial staff member or 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 and lived with him until her death.[1]

Career as photographer[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3]

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 City, 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.[4]


In 1994, Bergemann's talent was recognized when she became a member of Academy of Arts, Berlin. 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."[5]


Publication by Bergemann[edit]

  • Polaroids. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2011. ISBN 978-3-7757-2843-0. With texts by Jutta Voigt, Bernd Heise, Frieda von Wild, and Arno Fischer. In German and English.

Publications with contributions by Bergemann[edit]

This list is not complete.

  • Die Stadt. Vom Werden und Vergehen / The City. Becoming and Decaying. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2010. ISBN 978-3-7757-2659-7. In German and English.
  • Ostzeit. Geschichten aus einem vergangenen Land / Stories from a Vanished Country. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2010. ISBN 978-3-7757-2486-9. In German and English.


Bergemann's work is held in the following public collection:


  • 2019-20 Medea Insurrection: Radical Women Artists Behind the Iron Curtain[7]


  1. ^ "Kicken Berlin | Kicken Berlin". Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  2. ^ "Sibylle Bergemann: Eine leise Künstlerin" Archived 2010-11-08 at the Wayback Machine, Zeit Online, (in German) 5 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Sibylle Bergemann: OSTKREUZ Agentur der Fotografen GmbH". Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  4. ^ "Muere la fotógrafa alemana Sibylle Bergemann que documentó la vida en la RDA",, (in Spanish) 3 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Heinrich Riebesehl und Sibylle Bergemann gestorben"[permanent dead link],, 2 November 2010. (in German). Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Sibylle Bergemann". Museum of Modern Art. Accessed 22 February 2018.
  7. ^ "The Medea Insurrection: Radical Women Artists Behind the Iron Curtain | Wende Museum". Retrieved 2020-03-01.

External links[edit]