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Leipzig and its Trabant 1989



20x 30x22 cm

10x 40x29 cm

7x 50x37 cm

Printed on Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta paper+ 1 cm white border

Delivered with a numbered and digitally signed certificate of authenticity


"The Wall between East and West Germany was about to collapse at the end of 1989. The DDR opened for (photo)journalists. I regularly went to Eastern Europe for the NRC newspaper. It brought me to Leipzig, where art and culture flourished lively, underground. Painters, writers and artists. It smelled of brown coal and the exhaust fumes of the Trabant. The traces of the Second World War were still clearly visible in the cityscape. Bullet impacts decorated the facades. It felt lonely and empty."


Vincent Mentzel has worked as a staff photographer for NRC Handelsblad since the early 1970s and has developed into one of the best-known Dutch photojournalists during that time. As a staff photographer, he determined the face of the newspaper for a long time. He initially distinguished himself as a parliamentary photographer, then made major (foreign) reports and was closely involved in the image editing of M Magazine. After aborted studies at the Rotterdam art academy, Mentzel received his training in practice between 1967 and 1969 as an assistant to the Amsterdam theater photographer Maria Austria.


From her he mainly learned to print in the darkroom. His early photographs are characterized by a narrow perspective, created by heavily printed skies and environments. His later work is lighter and less compelling in character. At the end of the 1960s, as a freelance photojournalist from Rotterdam, he served all kinds of newspapers with press photos taken from an unusual point of view with a wide-angle lens. He soon got a contract with NRC Handelsblad.


His breakthrough came when he started following the political scene in The Hague on a daily basis. Mentzel handled the genre in a calm, well-informed manner and maintained close relationships with politicians, allowing him to photograph them behind the scenes. His approach was widely followed and changed the character of parliamentary photography.




Vincent Mentzel – Leipzig and its Trabant 1989

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