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Unfamiliar Familiarities—Outside Views on Switzerland

Unfamiliar Familiarities—Outside Views on Switzerland (Fremdvertraut – Aussensichten auf die Schweiz)
Lars Müller Publishers
Edited by Peter Pfrunder, Lars Willumeit, Tatyana Franck (in collboration with Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur, and Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne)
German, English and French

Photographs by Alinka Echeverría, Shane Lavalette, Eva Leitolf, Simon Roberts, Zhang Xiao


6 booklets in a slipcase
312 Pages
ISBN 9783037785102


For Unfamiliar Familiarities five internationally renowned photographers from all over the world were invited to scrutinize Switzerland as independent and subjective observers – unrestricted by any advertising commission. Their images invite viewers to see the familiar with the eyes of an outsider.

Switzerland’s image has been significantly shaped by photographs dedicated to tourism. Through spectacular mountain panoramas, snapshots of rural idylls or portraits of local people, the country could be successfully marketed and these photographs also made an important contribution towards national identity. Another consequence, however, was that the respective pictorial repertoire became inflated and stereotyped. Today these glorified stereotypical views are disconnected from reality and need an overhaul.

What the photographers Alinka Echeverría (Mexiko/UK), Shane Lavalette (USA), Eva Leitolf (Germany), Simon Roberts (UK) and Zhang Xiao (China) discovered on their travels around Switzerland or along the country’s borders is both inspiring and revealing. An exhibition opening in 2017 in Winterthur displays the works.

About the Publisher:
Lars Müller Publishers is an internationally active publishing house based in Zurich, Switzerland. It came into being in 1983, as a result of the bibliophile passion of designer Lars Müller. The house has made a worldwide name for itself – and not just in specialist fields – with carefully edited and designed publications on architecture, design, photography, contemporary art and society. The publishing program reflects Müller’s own diverse interests, documenting historical developments and contemporary phenomena by presenting compelling work in the visual arts and the design of objects and the environment and exploring its social and cultural relevance.