Wilhelm Schürmann: Lachsgasse, 1988
Lachsgasse, which Wilhelm Schürmann investigated with his camera in 1988, is located in the northern Cologne district of Niehl, not far from the port and the Rhine. The proximity to the river has shaped the district. Existing as a fishing village until the beginning of the 20th century, industrial trades were gradually added. The building structure of the alley refers to this village origin. It is rather narrow, the houses are low, sometimes with a flat, sometimes with a pointed roof, wider entrances and gates suggest backyards. On the right of the picture, a little to the rear, a massive, higher structure is conspicuous, which seems to tower above the church tower in the line of the picture.
Perhaps when Wilhelm Schürmann came across the rather inconspicuous Lachsgasse on his forays through Cologne, he remembered Steinhammerstrasse in Dortmund, where he grew up. Between 1979 and 1981 – at that time he didn’t live there any more – he dedicated a project to this street and its inhabitants. What characterizes the photos he took in Dortmund as well as his numerous images of Cologne, is the photographer’s feeling for the casual as well as the surprising, even comic moments of everyday life, for details discovered there and views far beyond tourists‘ expectations. Moreover Schürmann‘s views can be seen as cultural and social studies.
Wilhelm Schürmann began working in the early 1970s as a freelance photographer for various newspapers. In 1973 he founded a gallery for photography in Aachen, one of the first of its kind in Germany. The gallery work, which he soon gave up, led him to being a collector himself, in the meantime also for contemporary art. Wilhelm Schürmann has worked frequently on his own photographic projects with a focus on architectural structures, in addition, he was a Professor of photography at the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen for three decades and is still active as a photographer.
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur