Through Amateur Eyes is a single-authored book that marries archival research with theoretical and historical interpretation to put forward a study of the role of amateur documentary films and photographs in the memory and memorialization of World War II and the Holocaust. The images discussed are taken by self-identified Nazis in Germany between 1926 and 1943. The project explores the films’ and photographs’ formation by and influence on a range of forces that shaped the social structure and visual culture of the Nazi period: technological developments, cultural and social events, aesthetic trends. The book approaches this body of images from a unique perspective: it privileges their status as amateur films and photographs, while holding their status as products of self-identified Nazis in abeyance.
Because many of these images are often recycled in contemporary narratives that memorialize World War II, Through Amateur Eyes takes this opportunity to analyse the recyclings as cues to contemporary beliefs and practices of cultural memory. The re-presentations of archival images are found in museum exhibitions, Gallery Exhibitions, made-for-television documentaries, Magazines, documentary films, and the World Wide Web. The recyclings are found in both mainstream and alternative media since 1995 in Germany, France, Holland, United Kingdom and North America.