Bauhaus and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Following my completion of the Line exercises, I was interested to find out a bit more about the Bauhaus School and about Laszlo Moholy-Nagy since I particularly like his technique of capturing abstract images through high viewpoints and therefore challenging the ‘looking through a window onto the world’ technique that relies on creating images with depth.

I particularly like these images and can relate them to my experience of taking photographs for exercise 1.3 (2) from the top of a city car park.

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Image 1

I like how this image shows an everyday scene from an unusual viewpoint. We do not often see the tops of people’s heads. The lines in this image create an abstract effect and the simple background and contrast highlight the men in this image. There is little sense of depth so our eye wanders over the whole frame.

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Image 2

This image is similar in its viewpoint but appears to be taken from a much higher point. The people are small shapes, the cars abstract since no detail can be seen. The vertical post encourages the eye to move from top to bottom and then to the other points within the image.

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Image 3

I really like this image. For me, there is some depth in this image because the figure is positioned towards the back. However, the foreground is abstract, which flattens the perspective. The slant provokes a feeling of instability that, to me, mirrors the newness of the technique in its challenge to the photography conventions of the time.

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Image 4

This image, and the one below, are more pattern than picture, and encourage the viewer to see the photograph as exactly that, a two-dimensional object, to be admired for itself rather than for its representation of the ‘real’ world.

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Image 5

Moholy-Nagy was a student of the Bauhaus Art and Design school in Germany. This institution was famous for its radical and new approach to design. It taught how art could be combined with mass production. By using simple functional designs and producing standardised parts, modern styles could be produced for mass consumption. An easily recognisable style, functional, without decoration, created a brand image, that I see as something like our modern day IKEA.

In terms of photography, the recognition of the photograph as an object in itself, and the development of more sophisticated cameras, led to the experimenting with new viewpoints and new ways of creating images consistent with the teachings of the Bauhaus School.

I have included more of Moholy-Nagy’s images in my ‘hardcopy’ learning log and I hope to return to a more detailed look at Moholy-Nagy and The Bauhaus soon.

List of illustrations

1   Moholy-Nagy, L. (1927) Railway Station Lyon [Photograph]. At:

2   Moholy-Nagy, L. (1930) Stockholm [Photograph]. At:

3   Moholy-Nagy, L.  Ellen Frank at the Beach [Photograph]. At:

4   Moholy-Nagy, L. (1937) Untitled (traffic lights) [Photograph]. At:

5   Moholy-Nagy, L. (1935) Dufay Color Photograph [Photograph]. At:






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