Raising the Curtain! Theater Photography by Ruth Walz
The German theater photographer Ruth Walz (Bremen, DE, 1941) is a grande dame of her craft; her work with directors like Luc Bondy, Klaus Michael Grüber, Peter Sellars and Peter Stein is the stuff of legend. After a long engagement at the Schaubühne in Berlin, Walz still works for the Salzburg Festival on a regular basis. It was here that she met artists like William Kentridge and Robert Wilson and found thrilling perspectives at the imposing Felsenreitschule. Among her most famous shots are the pictures she took during the 1986 premiere of Prometheus Bound, with Bruno Ganz in the title role. The exhibition devotes an entire chapter to photographs of this singular actor; another is dedicated to the motif of the curtain, which Walz renders in imaginative variations.
Theater photography is a challenging métier; the practitioner must capture the actors’ facial expressions at their most characteristic as well as the overall effect of the space, décor, and ensemble. Walz let us see the entire theater. With the perspectives and details she picks out, the photographer keeps defining new frames, lending immortality to an ephemeral art.