Renowned Photographer Helga Paris Passes Away in Berlin

Renowned Photographer Helga Paris Passes Away in Berlin

Renowned photographer Helga Paris has passed away. She died on Monday in her Berlin apartment at the age of 85, as announced by her daughter to the German Press Agency in Berlin on Tuesday. Paris was one of the photographers who grew up in the GDR and who vividly captured people in their everyday lives in their work.

Born in 1938 in Goleniów (Gollnow), West Pomerania, Paris grew up in Zossen near Berlin. She studied fashion design and initially worked as a graphic designer before taking up photography in the 1960s.

She found her motifs in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, where she moved in 1966 with her then husband, the painter Ronald Paris, and where their two children grew up.

The works created in Berlin are strongly influenced by Paris’ surroundings. At that time, the Prenzlauer Berg district was still characterized by working-class families. Her photographs of “Women in the VEB Treffmodelle clothing factory” from 1984 provide evidence of this.

She also took photographs at Hackescher Markt, in Halle, Georgia and Poland and at Leipzig Central Station. For her photos she found people in Berlin, Georgia or Transylvania; she photographed young men in the Roman train station district, women in Poland and passers-by on Alexanderplatz.

One of her well-known series is “Berlin Pubs” from 1975. For “Houses and Faces” from Halle in 1983-85, she tried, in her own words, to photograph everything “like a foreign city in a foreign country.” Works from 1981/82 provide an insight into “Leipzig Central Station”. The series “Memories of Z.” was created in Zossen near Berlin.

Helga Paris had been a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts since 1996 and left her archive with almost 230,000 negatives and around 6,300 films to the institution.