Once upon a time there was a miller named Ludwig Schirmer.
The miller started taking pictures: people of his village, Berka. It was situated in the GDR.
Half a century later one question appears in Schirmers photographies: Has there ever been east and west?
In 1950 Ludiwg Schirmer worked as a miller in Berka, a small village located near by the Harz mountains in Thuringia.
It will always remain mysterious how he became a photographer, but later on he became one of the most famous ones in the GDR due to his advertisement work for all the biggest companies. Nobody knows where the 6by6 camera he worked with came from, but everyone in Berka remembers him taking pictures all the time. He took pictures of everything, the ancients say.
Shortly after his death in 2001 his estate was rediscovered by his daughter Ute Mahler, today a well-known photographer herself. What she found was a chronicle in pictures, describing a decade of village life: children rampaging on the grassland, women working on the fields, men strolling through the streets laughing and drinking. Weddings, jubilees, dances, parish fairs and the 1st may demonstrations.
Schirmer belonged to them, people were accustomed to him and so he remained invisble, taking pictures with the attitude of real life. He built his own studio and started taking portraits of almost all village folks.
Though his work is more than just a big village photo album.
His works mediate feelings of intimacy with the surrounding, that kind of security, the viewer associates with the phrase "homeland".
Nothing seems strange in his pictures. You could almost feel home, watching your own family growing up.
These pictures are miniatures, fixed-images of life at the barrier from one era to another.
Maybe only a miller could conceive the rotation of life, sitting in his darkened kitchen in-between developer dish and enlarger, while the grain groans under the millstone.