Behind the Visible: The Photography Portfolio of Paul Thomann

A chemically manipulated piece of photographic filmChemical 8A, direct chemically manipulated photographic paper

Paul Thomann is a Swiss artist currently based in Chicago. In his practice, Paul is a photographer and filmmaker, blending slice-of-life, documentary-style images with a slight leaning toward abstraction, conceptualism, and a deeper meaning behind the visible

An antique photo of a woman standing outsideMore family 001


It’s interesting to see the varied ways in which Paul presents the photographic image, throughout his portfolio. In series like Family, Paul explores photographic and documentary aesthetics from another time, compiling old, black-and-white family photographs and legal documents to create a familial history that seems simultaneously clinical and deeply personal. 

A screen capture of Paul Thomann's art portfolio


There’s a similar kind of tension in series like Baseball Pictures, where the artist focuses his lens on documenting the game, and yet while doing so opens up questions about the context and the experience behind the images. As a viewer, it’s easy to imagine oneself as a spectator, situated amongst a crowd that may be strange, or may be very familiar.

A photo of a group of people at a baseball gameB&W 5, archival print

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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