Herbert Tobias es uno de los fotógrafos alemanes más importantes del período posterior a la guerra. La primera vez que se hizo conocido por sus fotografías de moda no convencional fue en París y Berlín en la década de 1950 y 60. Hoy en día, es famoso sobre todo por sus fotografías de paisajes urbanos atmosféricos, sus retratos y sus sutiles imágenes eróticas de hombres.
Sus fotografías están llenas de poesía, la sensualidad y de poder sugestivo.
La fotografía de moda glamorosa de Tobías y sus retratos impresionantes de los jóvenes Klaus Kinski, Zarah Leander e icónicos como Velvet Underground son ampliamente conocidos en la actualidad. Sin embargo, su nombre ha sido olvidado.
Herbert Tobias is born in Dessau in 1924. He grows up in a petit bourgeois household and begins taking photographs as a child. His aim of becoming an actor remains unfulfilled after the early death of his father in 1936. He completes an apprenticeship as a landscape surveyor instead and is called up to national service in 1942. Initial photographs of stunning artistic maturity are taken on the eastern front during World War II.
After the war, Tobias spends a year at drama school and subsequently meanders across provincial Germany with a touring theatre company.
He comes out in the late forties. In 1951, he moves to Paris with his boyfriend, where he occasionally works for the famous fashion photographer Willy Maywald and publishes his own photographs for the first time. His win in the Frankfurter Illustrierte cover page contest suddenly makes him famous. He moves to Berlin in 1954, where he spends the most successful years of his career. Tobias works for renowned fashion labels and various magazines. He also completes many independent assignments, including cityscapes, celebrity portraits and, above all, photographs of men.
At the peak of his career he goes off the rails, tries himself again as an actor and singer, but virtually loses all touch with society due to his unsteady, erotomanic life style that is filled with excessive drug abuse. He goes to Hamburg in 1969, designs record sleeves for various music labels and works for gay magazines. An exhibition in the Galerie Nagel in Berlin in 1981, for which Tobias re-prints the photographs he took in the fifties and sixties, ushers in the photographer’s rediscovery. He is unable to complete a planned and far advanced project for a book. In August 1982, he dies of Aids in Hamburg.