Günther Komnick was born in 1929 into an artistic family in Insterburg in the former German province of East Prussia (today Russia). At the age of 15, he, together with his mother and younger sister, were interned in a Russian labour camp for three years following World War 2, where they endured terrible tragedy and hardship. He was 18 when they managed to escape to the West.
After he qualified as a lithographer and graphic artist with the Lithographische Kunstanstalt Bromberger in Donaueshingen in the Black Forest, he excelled as a designer in Switzerland before settling in South Africa in 1956. Soon thereafter, he started his own graphic design studio in Cape Town, which he still manages today. While specializing in commercial and industrial photography, he also made time to travel extensively in Southern Africa, capturing exquisite and unique images of life as it was 50 years ago.
In the years since, Günther has journeyed and photographed widely in Africa, South America, Europe and the Middle East. He observes the daily lives of diverse people with an artist’s vision, in an honest yet compassionate way. “I am always moved by how a gesture or an expression in the eyes can reveal a person’s inner world.”
Of his photographs, he says that “they must contain a meaning and tell a story; they must express more than I can convey with words. If I have to explain what a picture is about, I have not succeeded. They are my impressions of the way I see the world.”
Günther Komnick’s successes and accolades are many. Besides creating award-winning advertising, he has twice received the prestigious South African CP Hoogenhout gold medal for his children’s book illustrations and is a Life Associate of the prestigious Royal Photographic Society in London.
In 2009, he self-published a coffee table book, Impressions (ISBN 9780620-394680), which brings together a wide selection of his exceptional images from the past 50 years. For more information, see www.guntherkomnick.com.