Ref No2006.25
Extent8 files, 41 items
TitlePortrait photographs of British sculptors and their work by Anne-Katrin Purkiss
ArtistAnne-Katrin Purkiss (b.1959)
BiographicalHistoryAnne-Katrin Purkiss was born on 25th November 1959 in Chemnitz, Germany, (formerly Karl Marx Stadt, East Germany). Her mother, Edith Seyffarth (nee Eisermann, b.1932), was a photographer and her father, Joachim Seyffarth (b.1928), worked as an engineer in the machine tool industry in Chemintz, becoming a freelance photographer in 1984.

In 1979 Purkiss took her first job in journalism for the local Chemnitz newspaper, Freie Presse. She worked for a year as a trainee journalist in various departments, mostly home news, design and picture desk, which secured her a place at Leipzig University. She graduated in 1983 with a degree in journalism and photography. Her first job as a photographer came in 1983 with the advertising agency Dewag in Leipzig.

Whilst at University, she met her husband, Alan Purkiss (b.1947), and after finishing her degree was given permission by the State Authorities to marry and leave East Germany. She moved to London in 1984 and worked as an editorial assistant for the Associated Press in the Colour Photo Library. She left the Associated Press in 1988 and became a freelance photographer. Since then she has had regular commissions from government departments including the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Office's Overseas Press Service (later renamed the London Press Service that closed in 2004) and contracts with the Countryside Agency. She has also been employed as project manager and photographer for Surrey Museums Consultative Committee between 2004 and 2006 and was commissioned to write a progress report on a new building for Pallant House Gallery, Chichester in 2004.

There have been several exhibitions of her work. Her early student shows, influenced by her admiration for Robert Doisneau and Cartier Bresson, were Changing Scenes, 1979, Galerie am Bruhl, Chemintz, and Street Scenes, 1983, Leipzig Information Centre, Leipzig. The pictures for Street Scenes were shown under the title 'Eventless Days in the Leipzig Information Centre'. The early exhibitions were social documentaries of local people in the context of their surroundings. There have been exhibitions of portrait photography at St Leonard's Photo Gallery, East Sussex, 1987 and Epsom Playhouse, Surrey, 1991. More recently, exhibitions have included Local Faces, mounted at Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham, November 2001 to January 2002. This exhibition featured a diverse collection of portrait photographs of people who live and work in the Borough of Richmond, Surrey. There is an accompanying exhibition catalogue, Local Faces: The People of Richmond and its Borough, Orleans House Gallery, 2001. A similar project became a touring exhibition during 2005 and 2006, Faces of the South Downs. It was sponsored by the Arts Council and featured portraits of local people in the area of the future South Downs National Park.

Although she has photographed landscapes in the Lake District, South Downs and New Forest National Parks, the focus of Purkiss' work is portrait photography. The diverse subjects of her portraits range from builders and ferrymen to actors, painters and politicians. All her black and white photographs are captured in naturalistic settings in a documentary style. She started her project to photograph artists, with a particular emphasis on sculptors, in the early 1990s. Her photographs of sculptors are not commissioned works, they are personal projects. Her grandfather had been an aspiring painter and she wanted to try to understand and portray the kind of people artists are. Generally, she photographed them at work and in the studio. Throughout her work she has always tried to photograph and understand people as products and creators of their environment

Purkiss has work in the following public collections: The National Portrait Gallery, The Museum of Rural Life at the University of Reading, and the West Sussex County Library. She continues to work as a freelance photographer and lives in London with her husband and two sons.

Anne-Katrin Purkiss - C.V., profile and records of projects. Available: 12 September 2006.
Local Faces: The People of Richmond and its Borough, Orleans House Gallery, 2001.
Interview between Anne-Katrin Purkiss and Victoria Worsley at the Henry Moore Institute Archive, Leeds, 24 August 2006.
Description41 black and white photographs. See item level descriptions
ArrangementChronologically by the date the photograph was taken. Two accruals of photographs, reference 2006.25/25-34 acquired in Dec 2007 and 2006.25/35-41 acquired in Jan 2010
NotesThe photographer made these prints from the original negatives in 2006
Related MaterialThere is a publication, 'Sculptors 1986-2007 Photographs by Anne Purkiss' published in Great Britain, 2007 in collaboration with Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham.
RelatedCollsElsewhereThe National Portrait Gallery, London
DS/UK/453Purkiss; Anne-Katrin (1959-); Photographer1959-
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2023