Thomas Seelig is the photography curator at Museum Folkwang
If you are interested in the history of photographic collections and photographic curating, this will be a fortunate episode to tune into. Thomas, apart from being a supremely passionate and knowledgeable curator, has also worked with and for some of Europe’s most prestigious collections throughout his relatively young career. Currently he occupies the directorial position for the department of photography at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany which is one of the most important institutions for photography in Europe. Its photographic collection in historical terms makes it one of the most prominent international holdings of vintage photographic materials.
Founded in 1978 with the help of Otto Steinert among others, the collection at Museum Folkwang boasts an assortment of over 65,000 photographs and is deeply entrenched in the research, dissemination and conservation of its rich photographic history through its exhibitions and publications such as the recent and very important book and exhibition on Aenne Biermann, an important and overlooked Twentieth Century master. Thomas is heading the department and continuing the fine work carried out by Museum Folkwang with exhibitions of artists such as Aenne Biermann, but also living international artists such as Tokyo Rumando and Thomas Albdorf.
I have met a few people in the business of photography whose passion simply put, radiates through their efforts and lends to their projects a sense of reliability. Thomas is a mainstay in photography. He, along with Urs Stahel, and Nadine Wietlisbach are but a few who have made it their life mission to continue to promote photography within the institution and to open doors for younger artists. Without their help and vision, photography would remain static and frozen.
This episode was an excellent educational offering for me. I had met Thomas a few years ago, but had not yet had a proper conversation. I would see him around the fairs etc. and always have a moment to say hello, but this was the first time in which I was able to pique Thomas’ brain on crucial matters in photography. He was generous, funny and overly affable. We are lucky in the field of photography to have a small community of polite and open individuals like Thomas who are willing to speak openly about their work. It is one of the graceful notes of the medium presently. This conversation will benefit most people who tune in, but of particular value this episode will hopefully open minds of those young and passionate individuals just cutting their teeth curating both in and out of institutions now.
I would like to thank Thomas for his time. This is a long and deeply inciteful episode and I am proud to publish it.