Saturday, August 18, 2018


Marlies Amling

The other day I received a phone call from Claire Yaffa.  She needed my mailing address because she decided to send me three of her books.  That made think how lucky I am to know her.  As Leica owners, we are indeed lucky.  Our cameras are used and have been used by almost every photographer of note.  Today’s photography is unthinkable without the contributions of the Leica and its users.

But only a relatively small number of photographers have received international acclaim.  It is safe to say that a larger number of excellent photographers work and have worked in relative obscurity.

One such photographer is my sister Marlies Amling.  She grew up in the photography business of our father in Barntrup, Germany.  After completing trade schools and the Hamburger Fotoschule (Hamburg School of Photography) and after working for several photographers as an apprentice, she earned the title of Meister Fotograf (Master Photographer).

Marlies with me in front of our dad's studio

She took over the business of our father.  Her skills enabled her and her husband to grow the business and to become known much beyond the city limits.  But in a rural area growth was necessarily limited.  The result was that they sold Foto Studio Amling, the former Foto Richter in Barntrup and took over an existing studio in Weilburg, just 30 miles outside of Frankfurt.  Weilburg is also just about 12 miles from Wetzlar.

Over the years there has always been a friendly rivalry between the two of us.  I don’t hesitate to say that usually I have come out at the back end of this “competition.”   I gladly admit that she is the better photographer.

I have certainly done alright for myself, but Marlies has a much better eye for photography.  She sees things that I simply overlook.  The result is that she has a substantially larger archive of excellent photographs of quite a different number of venues and subject matters.

Her main business was portraits and related photography.  She also published a book titled “Gesichter Einer Stadt” (Faces of a City), which shows a large cross section of the people in Weilburg.

Another relatively large body of work is her travel photographs.  Marlies and her husband have been fortunate to be able to travel extensively.  Definitely no common travel snapshots here.

Due to an illness Marlies decided to retire a few years ago and to move to a new place just outside of Munich.  But that doesn’t mean she does no longer takes photographs.  She is as good as ever and I hope that we will see a lot more of her work in the coming years.

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  1. Amazing stuff. I would like to see more of her work.

  2. I like her work a lot. I have never heard of Barntrup. Where in Germany is it?

  3. Barntrup is a small town, about 50 miles southwest of Hannover or 150 miles south of Hamburg.