Julia Lutz, M.A.
Slaughterhouse photography by Madame d’Ora and Eli Lotar: structures of shock.
In 1929, the French photographer Eli Lotar illustrates the keyword ‘Slaughterhouse’ for the dictionary ‘Documents’, published by Georges-Henri Rivière and Georges Bataille. Therefore he goes to the slaughterhouse La Villette and takes several photos, which are disturbing on the one hand, but on the other hand delicately and elaborately composed.
Only 17 years later, between 1946 and 1955, a photographer of Austrian origin, Madame d’Ora steps into the same slaughterhouse of La Villette and takes hundreds of photos: carcasses of pigs, cattle and horses – throats slit, suspended and skinned bodies, severed heads and limbs, lying in blood.
The previous discussion on these photos has focused on the coherence of iconography and content. Unlike this the present study will analyze the photos themselves and as a result will find categories for describing what the the so-called “Chock” is evoked by.
This doctorate research project will open a new perspective on the slaughterhouse photos by Madame d’Ora as well as by Eli Lotar: Instead of interpreting them in terms of topic and iconography, it will focus on their aesthetic mode of expression.
As a consequence criteria will be acquired for dealing with photography depicting violence and shock in general without solely relying on aspects of reception and motives.
Julia Lutz studied Art History, European Ethnology, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Culture at the University of Vienna and at Freie Universität Berlin. Her master degree thesis is entitled: Madame d’Ora, slaughterhouse photography of the 1950s. An attempt to a sociopolitical and psychological reading. Since July 2016 she has been a postgraduate research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies BildEvidenz.
- shock photography from 1920 until 1960
- commemorative cultures of the Holocaust
- Jewish artists of the 20th century
- Art and Cultural History of the 20th century Vienna
„Jenseits des Illustrativen: Eine Relektüre der Schlachthoffotografien von Madame d’Ora“, in: Rundbrief Fotografie, Vol. 24 (2017), No. 3 [N.F. 95], S. 19-30.