Black & White 1997-2005

“Who would have thought that so much wonder could still be created with straight photographs in a time given to digital manipulation?” Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune

Thomas Kellner Black & White

Starting in January 2016, German and international galleries  present my new exhibition “Black & White”. Silver gelatin tableaux made between 1997 and 2005 will be on display. In this exhibition, I recall my  beginnings as an artist and my roots in black-and-white photography using the analog gelatin silver process.

Black-and-white photography first became widespread in 1871 and developed into the first large-scale visual medium in cultural history. It was the dominant form of photography for almost 60 years before color photography was introduced. Those who have followed Kellner’s photography over the years know that most of his works have been published and exhibited in color. However, there was a time when Kellner worked in black and white.

In a time when many artists are returning to black-and-white photography, I am looking back on this period of his life. Even though most of his black-and-white works were never published, they do reflect his early career when he worked mostly in silver gelatin and experimented with cycles of various photographic images in the darkroom. I ended up developing my unique visual language of multiple perspectives and the deconstructive approach whereby the composite image is either a multiple exposure on a negative or a sequence mounted on a contact sheet of 35-mm roll of film.

Starting with my first sketches of the Eiffel Tower as a homage to Robert Delaunay and Orphism (the French offshoot of cubism) in Paris in 1997, I totally turned my attention from landscape to architecture and the growing complexity of my compositions. I created ageless classic images in his newly invented visual language based on Cubism. In my early black-and-white images, the observer can see how I focuse on the structure itself. The balance between the object and its visual form are at the center of his creations.

My original concept was to create images with 36 exposures equaling one length of film. Later, I moved on to using two or more rolls. The exhibition will show iconic black-and-white images from San Francisco, New York City and Chicago for the first time. It also will have some larger scale works on show- for example, an impressive image of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

On exhibit is a selection of 50 of Kellner’s best black-and-white images to start on January 16, 2016 in Cologne and then Siegen. The presentation is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Harris Fogel and published by Seltmann+söhne, Lüdenscheid and Berlin. The “Black & White” project is being financed by crowdfounding on


critical mass Top 50, 2016



Galerie Vrais Rêves, ed. 2017. Thomas Kellner: Contacts N & B 1997-2005. With the assistance of R. Mathieu and R. Viallon: Galerie Vrais Rêves.

Gao Xiaohua Art Museum of the Southwest Minzu University, ed. 2018. Black and White: Thomas Kellner Photography Exhibition. With the assistance of Qu Bo. Chengdu.

Kellner, Thomas, ed. 2012. Wir Sind Von Idealbildern Umgeben: Dirk Josef Müller Interviewt Thomas Kellner. Siegen: Ars-Victoria-Verl.

———, ed. 2015. Thomas Kellner: Black & White 1997 - 2005. 500th ed. Lüdenscheid, Berlin: Seltmann+Söhne.

Verve Gallery, ed. 2016. Thomas Kellner.


Exhibition catalogs

Arrouye, Jean. 2014. “Un Art D'imagination.” In Thomas Kellner: Contacts 1997-2013, edited by Galerie Vrais Rêves. 1000th ed., 4–5. Lyon.

Hartware MedienKunstVerein, ed. 2015. Das Mechanische Corps. Dortmund.

Lang, Peter, and Christoph Tannert, eds. 2014. Das Mechanische Corps: Auf Den Spuren Von Jules Verne. 500th ed. Berlin: Künstlerhaus Bethanien.

Lanzenauer, Johann H. von, ed. (2016) 2016. Raw Desires: Brutalism and Violent Structures. Berlin.

Lemoine, Serge, ed. 2002. Vues D'Architectures: Photographies Des XIXe Et XXe Siècles : 2 Juin - 25 Août 2002. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux.

Tannert, Christoph, and Peter Lang. 2015. “Thomas Kellner: Paris, Tour Eiffel, 1997.” In Das Mechanische Corps, edited by Hartware MedienKunstVerein, 17. Dortmund.

Tuttle, Kay. (2016) 2016. “2016 the Light Factory Annual Art Auction.”.

Verein zur Veranstaltung von Kunstausstellungen e.V. Düsseldorf, ed. 2000. Große Kunstausstellung Düsseldorf NRW 2000. Düsseldorf: Verein zur Veranstaltung von Kunstausstellungen e.V. Düsseldorf.

Zehnder, Frank G. Prof. Dr. 2010. “Von Der Autonomie Des Bildes.” In Thomas Kellner FarbWelt 135-36: Kunstpreis Des Kreises Düren, edited by Kreis Düren, 23–29. Düren: Kreis Düren.



BFF Bund Freischaffender Foto-Designer e.V., ed. 1999. Junioren Im Bund Freischaffender Foto-Designer E.V. 5 1999. Junioren im BFF 5. Stuttgart: BFF.

Bourin-Budig, Nathalie. 1999. “Stadtlandschaften 2000.”.

Fogel, Harris. 2015. “Thomas Kellner: Die Zerlegung Des Raumes.” In Thomas Kellner: Black & White 1997 - 2005, edited by Thomas Kellner. 500th ed., 5-7, 9-11 engl. Lüdenscheid, Berlin: Seltmann+Söhne.

Kellner, Thomas. 2001. “Buckingham Palace by Thomas Kellner.” In Architecture: Developing Style in Creative Photography, edited by Terry Hope, 112–13. Black and white photography. Crans-Près-Céligny [u.a.]: RotoVision.

Mathieu, Rémy. 2017. “A Propos Du Travail De Thomas Kellner.” In Thomas Kellner: Contacts N & B 1997-2005, edited by Galerie Vrais Rêves, 4–5: Galerie Vrais Rêves.

Müller, Dirk. 2012. “Wir Sind Von Idealbildern Umgeben: Dirk Josef Müller Interviewt Thomas Kellner.” In Wir Sind Von Idealbildern Umgeben: Dirk Josef Müller Interviewt Thomas Kellner, edited by Thomas Kellner, 10–35. Siegen: Ars-Victoria-Verl.


Journals and magazines

Brakowsky, Patrick. (2015) 2015. “Thomas Kellner: Black & White Ausstellung in Köln.” Schwarzweiss Das Magazin für Fotografie (109): 21.

Chiumenti, Luisa. 2004. “Arte & Architettura a Genova.” Architettura (56/04): 22–24.

Glüher, Gerhard. 2003. “Dekonstruieren Und Neu-Ordnen - Gegenbilder.” Kunst + Unterricht (269): 19.

Heider, and Melanie. 2018. “Kellner Küche Bad: Projekt Künstlerhaus: Thomas Kellner Auf Immobiliensuche.” Top Magazin Siegen Wittgenstein 13 (2): 124–25.

Heinen, Wolfgang. (2017) 2017. “Black & White.” PhotoKlassik (3): 54–57.

Höge, Thomas. (2016) 2016. “Thomas Kellner Kontaktaufnahme.” fotoMagazin (3): 8–9.

Kodak, ed. 2000. Creative Techniques. Madrid: Kodak AG, Professional Division.

Kotzan, Anne. (2016) 2016. “Tanzende Architekturen.” Thomas Kellner in der in focus Galerie Köln. Schwarzweiss Das Magazin für Fotografie (110): 72–73.

Matthei, Ana M. (2017) 2017. “Behind the Broken Lens.” Arte Global Al Limite (82): 68–73.

Mißelbeck, Reinhold. 2002. “Thomas Kellner. Architektur Und Monumente.” Eikon. Internationale Zeitschrift für Photographie und Medienkunst (38/2002): 49–50.

Möller, Manfred. 2016. “Fotokunst, Ausstellungshighlights.” Kunsttermine, Der Ausstellungsanzeiger (1): 29, 31, 36.

Petri, Rita. 2015. “Fotokünstler Thomas Kellner: Ausstellung in Kölner Galerie.” durchblick 29 (4): 10.

Thielen, Helmut. 2016. “Galerie in Focus Zeigt Thoms Kellner „Black&White“.” Rodenerkirchen. Kölner Bilderbogen 60 (682): 56.

Articles in newspapers

Langer, Freddy. 2016. “Ein Turm Beginnt Zu Tanzen.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 14. 11.

Online publications

Hoenen, Anja. (2016) 2016. “Thomas Kellner: Black & White: Zusammengesetzt Auf Kontaktbögen: Fantastische Bilder Bekannter Bauwerke.” Accessed 13. 03.

Karpinski, Christy. 2017. “Thomas Kellner @ Art- Galerie Siegen.” Accessed January 01, 2018.

Mauer, Rolf. 2017. “Ausstellung: Thomas Kellner - Black & White.” Accessed December 31, 2017.

Miller, Jessica. 2017. “Thomas Kellner: The Artist Distorting Your Perspective of the World.” Accessed January 08, 2018.

Olaru, Vlad. 2017. “Dimensional View: Thomas Kellner Photographs.” Accessed February 12, 2018.

Phillips, Alison. “See Lacock Abbey with a Twisted Vision.” Accessed January 09, 2018.

Rouillé, André. “Contacts N&B 1997-2005 : Les Montages Photographiques De Thomas Kellner.” Accessed January 02, 2018.

Sigurðardóttir, María K. (2017) 2017. “Black and White: Exhibition by Thomas Kellner in Skotið at Reykjavík Museum of Photography.”

Smithson, Aline. (2017) 2017. “Thomas Kellner: Black and White.” Accessed January 02, 2018.

Watson, Roger. 2018. “‘Fractured Architecture, Cubist Photographs’ By Thomas Kellner.” Accessed January 09, 2018.


May 27 – June19,  2022
DUNAatelier, Katwijk, The Netherlands

October 22, 2021 – March 26, 2022
Galerie Nieser, Stuttgart, Germany

December 11, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Spectrum Sotos, Zaragoza, Spain

October 11 – December 9
Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía, Almería, Spain

September 7 – November 10, 2019
Friedrich-Hundt-Gesellschaft at Stadtmuseum Münster, Germany 

December 6, 2018 – January 5, 2019
Gao Xiaohua Museum, Chengdu, Peoples Republic of China

November 24 -29, 2018
Photo BaoHe Festival, Hefei, Peoples Republic of China

December 7, 2017 - January 31, 2018
Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Reykjavik, Iceland

June 23 - September 15, 2017
The Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey, England, UK

May 5 - 28, 2017
Kunstverein Tauberbischofsheim, Germany

March 18 - April 30, 2017
Galerie Vrais Reves, Lyon, France

January 15 - 29, 2017
Kunstverein Bad Camberg, Germany

April 17 - June 18, 2016
Art Galerie, Siegen, Germany

January 16 - March 19, 2016
infocus Galerie, Burkhard Arnold, Cologne, Germany

What people say

"When I view Kellner’s early black-and-white silver-gelatin contact sheets, there seems to me a linkage to Sander’s obsession with picturing the whole rather than a fictional misrepresentation, as well as to Bernd and Hilla Becher’s precise sequential typologies of industrial architecture." FOGEL, H., 2015. Black & White 1997 - 2005. Lüdenscheid/Berlin: Seltmann+Söhne.

"The images are comical, whimsical, challenging, and unpretentious. They communicate a passionate enthusiasm that is also an apt description of Kellner’s personality." FOGEL, H., 2015. Black & White 1997 - 2005. Lüdenscheid/Berlin: Seltmann+Söhne.

"Architecture that dances. Buildings that deconstruct, reconnect, dissected by frames, twisted into unreasonable shapes, reassembled into yet another grid, and then printed with more than a hint of Cubism, trying to take something that is three-dimensional and flatten it onto a two-dimensional plane. Indeed, as we can see, even in this early work Thomas Kellner succeeded at breaking apart space." FOGEL, H., 2015. Black & White 1997 - 2005. Lüdenscheid/Berlin: Seltmann+Söhne.

"Why, Kellner was wondering, […] why did photography in its more than 150-year-old history not succeed in escaping from the central perspective, a world perspective from the Renaissance." Langer, Freddy. "Ein Turm beginnt zu tanzen." FAZ 14th January 2016: 6. Print.

"Because now the eye roams over the fragments, piece by piece, sheer single frames and often enough beautifully composed by a gracious fortuitousness." Langer, Freddy. "Ein Turm beginnt zu tanzen." FAZ 14th January 2016: 6. Print.

thank you to my supporters of Black & White in my studio and on kickstarter

Abe Frajndlich, Adriana Groisman, Albrecht Thomas, Alison Stieven-Taylor, Andreas Fischer, Andreas Stein, Anja Mohr, Anne Weyhing, Anne-France ABILLON, Armin Menzel, Arno Schneider und Sara Robles Romero, Artgalerie, Helga Oberkalkofen, Bob Kubiak, Carlos Lopez, Catherine Aboumrad, Charles Mintz, Christian F. Kocherscheidt, Claudine Bourles, Craig Alan Huber, Daniel Schumann, David Rifkind, Dorothea Linden, Elaine Duigenan, Elisabeth Kellner, Elisabeth Ohrendorf, Elizabeth Siegfried, Falk von Traubenberg, Frauke Tuppeck, Freddy Langer, Gesche Wuerfel, Guido Schmidt, Hans-Werner Bieler, Herr und Frau Kötting, Ingo Schultze-Schnabl, Ingrid Tielsch, Jane Paradise, Joan Morgenstern, Jochen Dietrich, Jörg Neuenhausen und Insa Brandl, Johann-Peter Schäfer, Josef Aengenvoort, Judy Gelles, Jutta Schmidt-Berrang, Katharina Dinter, Kathryn Dunlevie, Ken Rosenthal, Kerstin Bethge, Hubertus Koch, Laura Heyman, Laura Nolden, Loli Kantor, Ludmila Steckelberg de Santana, Luzia Linden, Marc Babenschneider, Marc Baruth, Mariette Pathy Allen, Marina Knötzinger, Marita Holdaway, Markus von Gruenigen, Martin Gaevert, Martin Teichert, Mary Virginia Swanson, Michael Bolus und Maria Freericks, Michel Varisco, Nelly Thomas, Peter Wiklund, Philipp Bojahr, Rachel Papo, Ralf Markus Gräwe, Rebecca Webb, Roswitha Bieber, Sabine Heinke, Sandra Chen Weinstein, Sian Bonnell, Städtische Galerie Iserlohn, Rainer Danne, Terrie Fleckenstein, Thomas Fischer, Thomas Kind und Christine Müller, Thorsten Junge, Tracey Snelling, Ulrich Timmermann, Ursula Wagener, Galerie Vrais Rêves, Raymond Viallon und Rémy Mathieu, William Forde, Winfried Hofmann