Peter Dammann | Just Life

This new photo book(let) series presents analogue photographs and picture archives. Intuition, pure chance, odd encounters, and the slow passage of time helped in discovering the images and archives. All of them have their own remarkable stories: the story of the individual photographer, the story of the photographic subject, the story of each archive and its discovery, and not least the visible story of the unavoidable deterioration of analogue photographs, caused by production, use, and storage. All of the images are reproduced unretouched and thus bear the traces of their history, from the depths of their emulsions to their surfaces.

14,8 × 21 cm
48 pages
57 pictures
Edited by Peter Dammann, Beate Kemfert, Markus Hartmann
Booklet in cellophane bag
May 2018
ISBN 978-3-96070-024-1
€ 12,–


The camera was a constant companion in the life of the engineer Peter Dammann (born in 1936). Between the 1960s and 1990s he not only photographed his family, but also people, situations, landscapes, and animals. He produced thousands of images of family celebrations, excursions, birthdays, and funerals. In this way he created a family history of the sort that will be familiar to many. Yet he was more interested in creating good images than in mere documentation. Like many other amateur photographers Dammann looked to established, known photographers and trained his eye with their pictures. Dammann prefered black-and-white photography, and he made his own prints. In his different apartments over the years he had a darkroom in the bathroom, in a storage room, and later in a basement room. He collected everything in orderly, labeled binders, boxes, and crates, carefully organized in plastic sleeves and stored together with the corresponding contact sheets. Those photographs that Dammann considered the best were enlarged to a format of 18x24 centimeters, which he stored in homemade wooden crates. The last roll of black-and-white film that he developed bears the number 422 and is from the year 2007. He digitized the last eighty-nine rolls of black-and-white film himself and then ordered prints from a photo service. Since 2002 his photography and archives are digital.
In spite of his creative ambitions, Peter Dammann never intended to publish his personal family chronicle. His son, the artist Martin Dammann (*1965), encouraged his father to publically show his private photographs for the first time in this publication and in the exhibition at the Opelvillen.

Exhibition: Opelvillen, Rüsselsheim, May 2nd – Juli 29, 2018, as partner project to the International photography triennial RAY