NEW ULM - This is the story of the late Paul Lindemann as told through the eyes of his wife, Ruth Lindemann, who is a local artist and Community Education art teacher in New Ulm.
Paul, who was born and raised in New Ulm, died a year ago this May 10 at age 82. He met Ruth, who is originally from Boston, Mass., while he was living in Detroit Lakes. After they had been married about four years, the couple moved to Minneapolis.
"He did not like living in a big city," said Ruth, "So, he wanted to move back to New Ulm."
Paul Lindemann at work.
Paul and Ruth were married for almost 58 years raising two children together, Joan (of Fridley) and Jean (of North Mankato). They also have four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Paul was an accountant by trade, but he chose to work repairing electronics.
"He loved working with his hands," said Ruth, "He could do anything with his hands ... build anything. He also had an engineering mind."
During his lifetime not only did he get into photography, but he also made fine furniture and built handmade engines from scratch.
"He started doing photography when he was very young - about 17 or 18," said Ruth, "As he got older and became more interested in it - he had a very good friend who also did it and they both set up their dark rooms and would often get together and go out and take pictures."
Paul was a "master of lighting on subjects, particularly portraits," Ruth said.
He studied Karsch, a photographer, who was the master of portraiture at the time that Paul started to do photography, Ruth said.
"Over the years he really improved and found other ways to present photography," said Ruth, "He liked black and white better than he liked color. He would spend hours in the dark room to get one print ... just like any other artistic discipline ... you have to spend hours at it until you get something really good."
Through the years he won several awards for his photography, Ruth said.
"Because of the fact that I have been teaching so long in New Ulm ... pottery, ceramics, painting and drawing and so on, I've gotten more attention for my work than Paul has," said Ruth, "This is one of the reasons why I wanted to have somewhat of a tribute to him ... even though he's not with us anymore ... because I always felt his talents were neglected. He was always so supportive of my work ... encouraging me to go back to school and encouraging me in my work and when I would win awards ... he was the quiet man in the background."
Ruth sometimes got discouraged in her artistic work. Paul advised her to remember the work she had already done. He told her that she could do good work again.
Ruth teaches Community Education classes in drawing, watercolor, and acrylic painting. She plans to teach an oriental painting workshop this month. Ruth also teaches workshops in other communities whenever she is asked, she said.
"I encouraged him to show his work more, but he kept it more private," said Ruth, "He was uncomfortable entering his work in contests ... he was a very unassuming person."
Paul sold about five or six photographs. Most of his photographs are at their home.
One of his photos was taken to the Brown County Historical Society Museum, Ruth said.
Paul loved to visit Flandrau State Park to take pictures. He also took pictures of churches and buildings, nature scenes, his family and friends and whatever caught his eye.
"Some of the photos that he took of his daughters and me are the ones I treasure most ... and the ones of the North Shore (they spent their birthdays/anniversaries there)," said Ruth.
She has also used some of his photographs - like the one with the sea gulls and the incoming fog, a photo of the Minnesota River and the rye mill grain elevator - in her own art work.
"We inspired each other. I've used a lot of his photographs in my paintings ... he did such fine work," said Ruth, "He was just an amazing man. He left a wonderful legacy for his family."