This publication charts the Haus der Kunst München exhibition Trace—Formations of Likeness, drawn exclusively from The Walther Collection. The exhibition explores portrait photography and the tracing of societal transfor-mation across geographic spaces as well as contrasting sociopolitical and cultural landscapes. Portrait photog-raphy has been deployed as a means to shape identity, to advocate for social change, and as a subversive strategy for visibility, often through an intimate investigation of the politics of memory, history, and embodiment.
This book encompasses works from the last two hun-dred years and brings together artists from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The juxtaposition of archival, documentary, and vernacular photography offers a global context to reflect on the divergent trajectories of historical and contemporary photography today. Collectively, these works showcase the medium’s capacity as both an instru-ment for empowerment and a formation of the self, as well as its complex uses as a tool for control and subjugation.