Exhibition: Miron Zownir

Cologne’s Hardhitta Gallery exhibits Miron Zownir, photographer of outsiders and the marginalised

Cologne’s Hardhitta Gallery is to exhibit the work of underground photographer Miron Zownir.

Dubbed the “Poet of Radical Photography” by the writer Terry Southern, Zownir’s work focuses on the contemporary city. Whether shooting in New York or post-Soviet Eastern Europe, he turns the metropolis into a strange, unknowable place, where moments of intimacy become somehow surreal.

Born in Karlsruhe in southwest Germany, Zownir’s career began in the late 1970s. Entrenched in west Berlin's and London's punk scenes, he captured the movement’s youthful idealism and tendency for self-destruction.

Much of his work since has depicted marginalised individuals, including sex workers, drug addicts and the homeless in 1980s New York – taking after the legendary 1960s photographer Diane Arbus, who also focused on society’s outsiders. Interviewed in Lens Culture, Zownir explained his choice of subject:

“First of all, because their life is so tough and brutal that it deserves my respect and attention. Second, because they are largely ignored by the popular media. Third, they have no lobby and nobody gives a damn about them.”

Zownir’s dusky black and white images also feel descended from Weegee and Brassaï, mid-century chroniclers of the urban demimonde. Shot on an analogue camera using Kodak Tri-X 400 film, they have a raw style, full of all-too-real grit.

Zownir will be present at the opening evening of the exhibition from 6pm to 10pm on 1 April.