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In conversation with Günther Komnick main

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Günther Komnick tells us the story of how he left East Prussia as a kid.

A conversation between Gavin Furlonger & Günther Komnick at his house. He tells us the story of how he found his passion for photography and how it led him to South Africa.

” From there, we escaped after three years.”

Photographer Günther Komnick, born in 1929, weaves a captivating narrative that spans continents and epochs. His journey began in the tumultuous aftermath of World War II, as he bid farewell to his childhood home in East Prussia and embarked on a life-altering odyssey.

As a young boy, Günther’s experiences were marked by hardship and resilience. Interned in a Russian labor camp alongside his mother and younger sister, he witnessed the ravages of war firsthand. Amidst the grim conditions, he discovered an enduring appreciation for life’s simplest pleasures—a crust of bread, a shared potato soup—lessons that would shape his artistic sensibilities.

In the camp’s shadows, Günther honed his innate talent for capturing the essence of humanity. His haunting sketches depicted people teetering on the precipice of existence, their vulnerability etched into every line. Fear, survival instincts, and a keen eye for danger became his companions.

At eighteen, liberated from the camp, Günther embarked on a quest for self-discovery. His path led him from northern Germany to the Black Forest, where he initially aspired to become a sculptor. However, fate intervened when Joseph Bromberger, recognizing Günther’s latent potential, guided him toward lithography. The Bromberger family embraced him, and under their mentorship, he blossomed into a skilled lithographer and graphic artist.

Switzerland beckoned next, where Günther further refined his craft. Yet destiny had other plans. An advertisement lured him to the vibrant landscapes of South Africa in 1956. Settling in Cape Town, he established his own graphic design business, infusing his work with the rich tapestry of Southern Africa, Egypt, the Middle East, and Zanzibar.

But Günther’s talents transcended mere photography. He emerged as a polymath—an artist who wielded words, colors, and images with equal mastery. His lens captured both people and landscapes, revealing the raw truth that defies temporal constraints. And as a graphic designer, he wove visual narratives that resonated far beyond the present day.

Enter Gavin Furlonger, the inquisitive interviewer. Known for his tireless efforts in archiving and preserving photographers’ legacies, Gavin’s passion intersected with Günther’s. Their conversation bridged generations, linking the era of fashion photography from the 1970s to the 2000s with the indomitable spirit of a man who continues to breathe life into each frame.

Together, Günther Komnick and Gavin Furlonger illuminate the artistry, resilience, and interconnectedness that bind the creative souls of South Africa.



Günther Komnick

“What is my intention with my photography? I cannot always find the right words to express what I feel. So I take photographs and my feelings are reflected in the images. I become part of the photographs and they become part of me. They are my impressions of the way I see the world. “


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