Europe in the Fifties. Through a Soldier’s Lens

During his travels throughout Europe as a freelance photographer commissioned by the US Army, Bill Perlmutter shot street scenes in Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The photographs have a cinematic touch and reveal the traces of war that continue to exist everywhere. Nevertheless, the survivors have once again taken up their daily routines; despite all their deprivations and experiences of war, life goes on.

“The street became a stage and the people actors in a fascinating and constantly changing theater of reality,” Perlmutter describes his photographic inspirations. His journey of discovery through post-war Europe is characterized by a genuine interest in the living conditions and cultural features of his European contemporaries. He approaches the people with sensitivity; and they react with the same impartiality, willingly posing for the camera. The results are highly personal candid photos, which lend Perlmutter’s work a sense of timelessness.

In the summer of 2013, Galerie Hilaneh von Kories in Hamburg presented the works of this New York-based photographer for the first time in Germany.

Bill Perlmutter

Bill Perlmutter was born in New York in 1932 and continues to live and work there to this day. Following his studies of Film Technology and his first photographic works in New York, he completed his studies of Photography in 1954 at the Army Signal Corps School in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He worked initially as a press photographer for the US Army in Germany and, from 1958 onwards, as a freelance photographer in various European countries.

His pictures have been published in numerous magazines and books. He is represented with works in diverse US American museum collections, including those of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of the City of New York, as well as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.