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“Wols Photographs”

Busch-Reisinger

All that glistens is not silver. All that shines in black-and-white is not machine-age steel, or industrial porcelain, or opalescent shell, or pearly flesh, or some other beautiful modern arrangement in light and space. And what else do the following have in common: Curbside effluent, glittering in the night; dank water in a tin bucket, with a slimy rag; the slick, uncooked flesh of a skinned rabbit that looks ripe for bacteria and the kitchen garbage; naked potatoes, clammy sausages, unnameable larva-like somethings; and, set against a stained, layered, darkly lustrous, unspecifiable surface, a can of sardines, opened to reveal its silvered contents, its lid-key stuck to a rip in the negative as if to peel back the surface of the print as well? All are photographs taken in Paris between 1932 and 1942 by the German expatriate Wolfgang Otto Schulze, alias Wols, better known as the founder

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