Walter Vogel – his repertoire of subjects is diverse, and his style is unmistakeable. Whether as a chronicler of the social background of the Ruhr Region, a cosmopolitan travel photographer, an avid fan of the circus, a nighthawk of the cabaret and night club scene or a lover of espresso coffee: the experienced eye and perfect precision with which he documents his times in unforgettable images is instantly recognisable.

In November, Walter Vogel will be honoured for his lifework and his indefatigable and exceptional engagement as a photographer at the Leica Galerie Wetzlar and will take his place as the next photographer in the Leica Hall of Fame. A selection of his photographs will be on view at the Leica Galerie Wetzlar from 14 November 2019 to 27 January 2020.

© Walter Vogel | Walter Vogel, Portrait, 2000

Although Walter Vogel is today seen as one of Germany’s greatest reportage photographers, his way to photography, or rather the courage he showed in making a profession out of his passion for photography, began at a relatively late period in his life. Despite having discovered his interest in photography in his youth, he concentrated on his education and later worked for many years as an engineer in the chemicals industry. He diligently saved the money he earned during his apprenticeship as a machine fitter and, by 1954, was already able to afford a Leica IIf.

Walter-Vogel_Dalmatiner,-Kein-Interesse-an-Fußball,-Düsseldorf,-1956 | 1512x1008 Walter-Vogel_Düsseldorf,-Boxerbeine,-1956 | 1512x1008 Walter-Vogel_Kommunionskinder,-August-Thyssenhütte,-Duisburg-Bruckhausen,-Ruhrgebiet,-1965 | 1512x1008 Walter-Vogel_Lüttich_1973 | 1512x1008 Walter-Vogel_Stelzenläufer,-Clown-Enders-vor-der-Kulisse,-Spanischer-National-Circus,-Koblenz,-1965 | 1512x1008 Campingplatz,-Istrien,-1964-©-Walter-Vogel | 1394x940

His profession took a new direction at the age of thirty: Vogel enrolled to study photography under Otto Steinert at the Folkwangschule in Essen. He began work as a freelance photographer after completing his exams and, alongside advertising and fashion photography, magazine photography then became one of the mainstays of his work. With his first self-published book (For Sale, 1980), Vogel discovered a new role, as the author of the text accompanying his pictures. His espresso book, published in 1993, marked his breakthrough in the world of publishing.

Although this project was also uncommissioned, Vogel’s instinct for the subject subsequently triggered a whole series of publications about the world of coffee – long before it became a lifestyle trend. A multitude of photo books reflecting the entire spectrum of his work has since been published. With a visual language characterised by authenticity, precision and sometimes by sublime humour, Vogel is one of the great German photographers of the analogue age – the Leica Hall of Fame Award expresses and confirms the appreciation and recognition of the photographer and his work over a period of more than fifty years.

The Leica Hall of Fame Award

Pictures that moved the world, moments that will never be forgotten: Leica Camera AG honours exceptional photographers whose view of the world has changed it or set things in motion with a place in the Leica Hall of Fame. Iconic images that have engraved themselves into our collective consciousness bear testimony to their creative oeuvre, touch the emotions and timelessly illustrate the conditio humana.

In 2011, Steve McCurry was the first photographer to be honoured with the Leica Hall of Fame Award. He was followed by Barbara Klemm, Nick Út, René Burri, Thomas Hoepker, Ara Güler, Gianni Berengo Gardin and Joel Meyerowitz. Last year, the award honoured the lifework of Bruce Davidson and Jürgen Schadeberg and, this year, Walter Vogel takes his place on the roll of honour of the Leica Hall of Fame.

Further information about the previous winners can be found at Leica Hall of Fame Award Winners