Swiss photographer Thomas Mayer (1946) is best known for his documentary reports of architecture. Landmarks and iconic buildings designed by Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Gehry are remarkably captured through Mayer’s lens and published in magazines as Zeit-Magazin, Der Spiegel and Stern. Since 1972, Mayer divides his time between photographing architecture and autonomous photography projects. One of his most prominent projects is the ongoing series ‘Wohnportraits’, in which Mayer photographs people in the intimacy of their own living room. Ornis A. Gallery is proud to present 25 pictures of the ‘Wohnportraits’ series, all shot in the 1970s and 1980s.
The pictures of ‘Wohnportraits’ breathe Mayer’s interest in architecture and express his desire to capture his subjects in their unique social environment. Without further directions and without artificial intervention, Mayer portrays them in their own home. Some of the people he knew in advance, they are friends or family members. Others he had met only briefly during work projects. Fascinated by the interiors of his subjects, Mayer decides spontaneously in which room he would photograph them. This informal process is mirrored in the pictures that express a relaxed atmosphere. Seemingly unaffected by the presence of the photographer, the people comfortably read books and magazines or watch television.
In some of the ‘Wohnportraits’ the people are missing. Yet by exposing their living rooms and bedrooms, Mayer makes us observe the interiors and wonder about the inhabitants. We read their characters through their personal belongings and curiosities; the posters and paintings on the walls and the furniture and accessories they selected. Without directing a certain narrative, the titles reveal nothing but the name of the city where the photograph is taken, Mayer stimulates the fascination of the observer.