Beyond the Battlefields is assembled from a unique series of images made by Photographer Käthe Buchler (1876-1930) made before, during and after the First World War in Germany.
Buchler’s exquisitely posed portraits and landscapes are the vision of a respectable, bourgeois wife and mother with significant technical expertise and a remarkable (and little known) aesthetic vision.
Through different picture cycles Buchler examines the care of orphaned children, wounded troops, Germans at work and at leisure – including a fascinating series made late in the war entitled ‘Women in Men’s Jobs’– and presents the dislocations of war along with striking moments of human warmth.
In so doing she offers a fascinating window on the preoccupations of ordinary Germans in World War One living and working hundreds of miles away from the fighting.
Buchler’s photographs offer fascinating comparisons with images and memorabilia from the same period in the UK. They pose searching questions about the class and status structures of Wilhelmine German society and the role of women as Europe’s dynastic empires tore themselves apart giving way to revolution, chaos and eventually the second world war.