Ute and Werner Mahler (born 1949 and 1950), were key figures in photography in the former GDR and co-founded the renowned photography agency Ostkreuz after the fall of the Wall. After having pursued successful careers for decades independently, the couple presented their first joint project in 2011, a series of black-and-white portraits titled “Monalisas of the Suburbs”. In 2014, a second joint project followed, “The Strange Days”, a series of large format landscape studies.
Now the couple presents a new joint project and its third joint publication, “Kleinstadt” (Hartmann Projects), an expedition to the German hinterland. A visit to the small German town, which consists of the pictures of many small towns: from Arzberg over Bitterfeld, Hofgeismar, Pasewalk and Zimmern to Waden and Zehdenick. “We have been interested in this topic for a long time, we worked on suburbs and non-exciting places before. We wanted to visit cities that are not in any travel guide and that are too far from the highway for people to pass through,” explains Ute Mahler in an interview with ZEIT Magazin. “These places are biotopes in which life seems manageable. Where there is great community, but also strong social control. Where there are no attractions, the little things become exciting.”