• This article reads Albert Renger-Patzsch’s photographic theory and practice in the context of Benjamin’s and Brecht’s dismissals of his work in order to recover the paradoxical interplay between documentation and perceptual training central to debates about photography as a specifically modern medium during the 1920s. I argue that, rather than evincing a naïve faith in verisimilitude, Renger-Patzsch mobilized ideas of visual analogy, formal play, and embodied vision to foreground the camera’s potential for disrupting perceptual habits. Returning to this moment of Weimar photographic theory can help recover deeper aesthetic tensions among formal, documentary, and critical demands made of the medium.