[Photography - 1936 Berlin Olympics]. The photograph album of a participant.

[Berlin, 1936].

8vo. Oblong album, leather over cream paper boards, string-tied, silver title and Olympic design to front, twine stitching to perimeter. Contains 56 black and white photographs measuring 310 x 240 mm, mounted with clear photo corners, each leaf separated with webbed tissue guard. Two additional photographs loosely placed within. Some loss to leather spine, verso only, otherwise in very good condition, a pleasing album with crisp images.


These images, captured first-hand by a participating athlete in the Olympic Games, are centred on the Berlin Olympic Stadium, where the athletic and track events took place, revealing the photographer's sport. We also find images of runners on a practice course, a high jumper, an equestrian event, spectators, security officials, and guards, some of the latter sporting binoculars for surveillance, others armed with long rifles. Olympic monuments include the Marathon Gate pillars from which was hung the iconic five ring symbol, the enormous receptacle for the Olympic Flame, and one of the sculptures of athletes which today are the subject of discord by some. City streets are saturated with political propaganda flags, whilst symbolic Olympic flags make but a mere discreet dispersing appearance among them. Two views show an airship blimp with the Germany's new national symbol hovering overhead, while a few inner city views show athletes running with the torch ceremoniously for the civilians. Elements of domination, superiority and mastery are captured two-fold in this unusual album of images, first and foremost in the display of a grand competition event of athletic champions from around the world, and secondly, in the less than subtle propaganda that would inevitably pierce the otherwise peaceful images of global collaboration and common ground. Rare to find an album by a professional athlete yet an amateur photographer of these historic Olympic Games.