The story would be dull—clichéd even—without the voyeuristic thrill that comes with the intimate details: a married German businessman and his married secretary, Margret, have a brief affair from 1969 to 1970. Everything you see here came from a suitcase purchased at an estate auction 30 years after the affair, and it’s an utterly engrossing collection of artifacts.
Not only did the unnamed businessman photograph the intimate moments before and after sex (including shots of dresses he bought for her—on the hanger, then on her, then on the bed), he kept keepsakes, including a lock of hair and an empty birth control blister-pack. The strangest part though is his “journal,” a series of typed, dated, wholly factual and completely emotionless entries—more of an impassive record of events than a log of romantic musings. Germans!
On their own, the photos seem to hint at a tender, maybe even loving time together, but the details reveal a much darker, volatile side of the tryst. At one point, the man’s wife confronts Margret, accusing her of disrupting a happy marriage. Margret is furious, and so the businessman then forces his wife to apologize to her. As delusional as she appears to be, it is this unseen wife who feels the most human, and one wonders if any guilt was felt on the part of the businessman or mistress Margret.
The collection is now being curated in its entirety as Gallery Margret: Chronicle of an Affair – May 1969 to December 1970, at the White Columns gallery in New York’s Meatpacking District, through April 18th.
Via Messy Nessy Chic