Fritz Wentzel


A toy Stroboscope and the Christmas present of a magic lantern launched Fritz Wentzel's lifelong love of and preoccupation with photography. Вот in 1877 in Berlin, he built his own camera obscura when he was ten years old and used it to observe street life from the family balcony.

Around 1890 his first introduction to the mysteries of photography took place at his grandfather's villa in the Tiergarten where an uncle had installed a darkroom under a staircase. Here he developed his first glass plates and enlarged his first prints. "To become a good amateur photographer was my greatest ambition", he wrote in his book Memoirs of a Photochemist. "After I had learned the technical mysteries of the procedures I became more and more interested in the artistic aspects of photography."

In 1908 having studied chemistry and optics under such distinguished photographic pioneers as Professor Dr. Hermann Vogel and Professor Dr. Adolf Miethe, and others, he earned his doctorates in chemistry and in engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. In those years (1906-1910) he also traveled extensively to the Balkan countries with bis Mentor Graflex-type camera that allowed him to compose boldly, focus selectively and see the precise image on the ground glass up to the very instant of releasing the shutter. With a rising lens board he corrected architectural distortion.

Generally, Dr. Wentzel's Balkan photographs reflect the pictorial trend of the time. In a rather simple, thoughtful and pleasing way they document a gentler chapter in the history of the Balkans - a time when Muslims, Orthodox and Catholic Christians lived in relative harmony. For his photographic achievements he was awarded the prestigious silver and gold medals of the Vienna Photographic Society.

Volkmar Wentzel

During the voyage in Balkan, as it is found out, he visited Tiflis in 1908. Four photos taken in Georgia by him are sent by Volkmar the son of F. Wentzel, writer and photographer, who was collaborating with journal "National Geographic" in 1937-1985.


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