[Five Gentlemen Conversing around Table]

Artist: Erich Salomon (German, Berlin 1886–1944 Auschwitz, Poland)

Date: 1920s–30s

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 17.4 x 23.2 cm. (6 7/8 x 9 1/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1100.268


The phrase "candid camera" was first coined in 1929 to describe Salomon's idiosyncratic technique of capturing the world's most powerful political and industrial leaders revealing themselves as ordinary human beings: talking, yawning, and joking. With his 35mm Ermanox camera concealed (sometimes in a hat or suitcase) and his unobtrusive appearance, Salomon was able to cut through the slick facade conveyed by official state portraits, both deflating and humanizing the politicians he photographed. This picture was taken in the Reichskanzlei in Berlin.