Günther Komnick was born in 1929 into an artistic family in Insterburg in the former German province of East Prussia (today Russia). At the age of 15, he, together with his mother and younger sister, were interned in a Russian labour camp for three years following World War 2, where they endured terrible tragedy and hardship. He was 18 when they managed to escape to the West.
With this knowledge in mind one can well imagine the effect this has had on Günther‘s life and the enormous impression and impact it must have made on him. When I looked at his work in photography, I found that Günther’s personal interpretation through his artistic vision has allowed him to experiment with his creative freedom; the mood in an image is captured by a twinkle in the eye, or a smile, and with the click of his shutter he immortalizes each moment.
The book, self-published by Günther, is of his B/W photo images taken over several years in and around the City, Bo-Kaap and District6 in Cape Town between 1958 -1962. The images serve as a testimony to the strength and endurance of a society and a time known to so many, and yet so few. Let’s say it’s his personal affair with life on the streets of Cape Town. The images that have materialized are filled with compassion, honesty and great joy and will remain an invaluable legacy for many years to come.
On first meeting Gunther some many years ago, Gavin Furlonger, founder of a local Archival initiative called PAPA discovered the images in an old Laundry Box tucked away in Gunther’s Studio. It was clear in Gavin’s mind from that moment on that he had to convince Gunther to publish these images as a Book.
Tonight celebrated the Launch at Heidi Erdmann’s Gallery with Guest Speaker Dr. M Cassiem D’Arcy giving a heartfelt introduction to his dear Friend Gunther.
Photos by Roland Brown