Thomas Hoepker – Heartland. An American Roadtrip in 1963

18.10 - 10.11.2011
  • Thomas Höpker

    Thomas Höpker

Thomas Höpker is one of the most acclaimed photographers of the Magnum Photos agency.
His portraits of the heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, the famous image of the burning towers of the World Trade Center and a reportage from a trip to the USA in the 60’s – have become his trademark and are included in the canon of the world’s contemporary photography.

The black-and-white photos portray life in the USA in the mid sixties and thematize the issues that influenced the country at the time. There is a particular focus on political events, such as Kennedy‘s assassination, racial discrimination and the resurgence of patriotism.
In expressive portraits, outstanding snapshots and sometimes extremely bizarre scenarios, Höpker has succeeded in painting a picture of America in all its facets.

Thomas Höpker says: It was 1963 and I was on the staff of ‘Kristall’ magazine in Germany, when the editor asked me if I would be interested in a road trip across America in the company of the writer Rolf Winter, a friend of mine. He said: “Show us the United States outside of the big cities and the well-known tourist spots. Show us ordinary people and their lives”. So we rented a car and drove from New York to Los Angeles and back, looking at Middle America. The trip took us three months.

Thomas Höpker – Born in Munich in 1936, Höpker began his career as a photographer for the Münchner Illustrierte and Kristall in 1960. In 1962, he started traveling the world and since then has captured moments of international stature that still impress today. In 1963 he started working for Stern magazine. In the 70’s he worked as Stern’s correspondent in New York, then, in the 80’s he was the magazine’s art directror. In 1989 he became a member of the renowned international photographic cooperative MAGNUM, of which he was Vice President from 1992 to1995, and then President from 2003 to 2006. Höpker now lives in New York, where he and his wife, Christine Kruchen, photograph and produce documentaries for television.