unbekannter Gast


Photography: When daguerrotypy, the first practicable photographic technique, was presented to the public in Paris in 1839, the Austrian mathematician and physicist A. v. Ettingshausen, who had been sent to Paris by the Austrian government to study the new process, introduced the technique in the same year in Austria, where its use spread rapidly. It was in particular the "Fuerstenhofgruppe", a group of artists led by the painter C. Schuch, that used the new technique and strove to improve it (for example by reducing exposure time). Important members of the group were F. Kratochwilla, J. Petzval, P. W. Voigtlaender, and A. G. Martin). In 1841 the brothers Johann and Josef Natterer produced the first "Sekundenbilder" ("instantaneous images") in Vienna. Viennese artists also took an interest in other processes such as the British inventions of calotypy and talbotypy. Along with portrait work, which remained the focal point of professional photography up to the end of the 19th century, landscape photographs were also produced from 1845 onwards (F. Adler, R. Gaupmann and G. Fischer, the Rospini brothers in Graz). In connection with the wet-collodion process the albumin copy, invented in France in 1850 (and considerably improved by the Viennese photographer A. Ost in 1869), resulted in the unprecedented success of photography, since it was now possible to produce numerous copies of individual pictures; at the same time, a series of standard formats were adopted ("visiting" format from 1857, "cabinet" format from 1866, "promenade", "panel" and other formats from 1875). In due course numerous photographic ateliers were set up in Austria, with those in Vienna (L. Angerer, J. Bauer, C. Mahlknecht and others) continuing to command a leading position. At the suggestion of J. Homolatsch a "Photographic Society" was founded in 1861 as the first association of Austrian photographers (First photographic exhibition in Vienna in 1864). In 1888 the school of photography established in Salzburg in 1879 was moved to Vienna ("K. k. Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt fuer Photographie und Reproduktionstechnik"- "k.k. School and Experimental Station for Photography and Reproduction Technique"). Amateur photography received major impulses with the advent of the "dry process" (based on dry gelatine plates, first produced industrially by C. Haack in 1879), which completely supplanted the wet-collodion process (foundation of the Vienna "Camera-Club" as Austria's first amateur photographic society in 1887). Technological innovations aiming at ensuring greater authenticity (genuine Austrian contributions included the "phototypy" (J. Berres, 1840), "galvanography" ( P. Pretsch, 1854), and "heliogravure" processes (K. Klietsch, 1879)) and the development of new applications apart from atelier photography, such as interior, industrial, expedition and travel photography (W. Burger, J. v. Brenner-Felsach, R. Poech and others), as well as chromophotography (A. Ost), photoceramics (J. Leth) were characteristic features of early Austrian photography. The history of photochemistry in Austria was greatly influenced by J. M. Eder, who was responsible for many seminal developments (Eder-Hecht sensitometer, sensitisers, silver chlorobromide gelatine). Under his direction, the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna attained world renown as a research institution and the achievements of Austrian experts in the fields of photochemistry and photographic physics reached a peak.

Sophisticated printing processes (platinotype, pigment, rubber and bromoil printing), which were decisively improved in Austria (G. Pizzighelli, A. v. Huebl, H. Kuehn, E. Mayer), brought photographic images into the vicinity of painting and the graphic arts. This resulted in a flowering of artistic photography between 1890 and 1914, with members of the Vienna "Camera Club" (L. David, A. and N. v. Rothschild, F. V. Spitzer) and in particular H. Watzek, H. Henneberg und H. Kuehn ("Trifolium")playing a significant role. Similar amateur societies were established in Graz, Salzburg and Linz. Bad Ischl (Upper Austria) is home to the Upper Austrian Provincial Museum of Photography (Frank Collection).

The imagery of artistic photographers continued to be a dominant influence even after 1918 (R. Koppitz, M. v. Karnitschnigg, H. Haluschka) and also influenced professional photographers (portrait- and fashion photography) such as Atelier D´Ora, A. Benda, A. Schein, J. Loewy, F. X. Setzer, H. Schieberth and E. Barakovich.

The "Neues Sehen" ("New Vision") approach developed in the inter-war period by the Bauhaus and others, which aimed at the exact reproduction of details or unusual views of everyday objects, was translated into photography on an experimental level by such individuals as H. Schwarz, A. Stern, T. Fleischmann and E. Fuerboeck, and in particular by representatives of photographic journalism, which increasingly tended to distinguish itself from "atelier photography" after 1918. Important individuals (L. Ruebelt, M. Fenichel, W. Willinger, A. Hilscher, L. Ernst, H. Lechenperg and others) worked for illustrated periodicals and magazines on the national and international market (for instance, after 1945, Ernst Haas, H. Mayr, E. Lessing).

This renewal of photographic esthetics after 1945 also helped to establish photography as a discipline of the Fine Arts, not only for the representation of abstract images (H. Mayr, W. Narbutt-Lieven) but also for photographic collages (W. Verkauf, G. Ruehm), for self-representation (C. L. Attersee, E. Plus, O. Oberhuber), in Viennese Actionism (H. Nitsch, G. Brus, R. Schwarzkogler) and in many other forms of artistic discourse (V. Export, B. Fritz, K. Schoeffauer, H. Gappmayr, R. Kriesche). It is hardly possible to establish a clear borderline with "pure photography", since there are many overlaps. Many free-lance photographers who devote themselves to themes of their own choosing have one characteristic in common, i.e. the great diversity of approaches and methods (representatives of what has come to be called "Autoren-Fotografie ("authors' photography)", such as N. Walter, O. Thormann, B. Lenart jun., M. Willmann, H. Tezak, J. Pausch, W. Bernhardt, P. Dressler, R. Kratochwill, H. Cibulka) The establishment of photo galleries (Graz, Salzburg, Wien), periodicals of contemporary photography ("Zeitschrift fuer Fotografie", 1980ff.),and prizes (e.g. the "Landesfoerderungspreis fuer Fotografie" awarded by Styria since 1971) have greatly helped to enhance the international prestige of artistic photography in Austria. Amateur photography, with centres in Vienna (L. Fischer, H. Stanek, K. Piringer), Linz (M. Neumueller, K. Almesberger), Graz (E. Kees) and St. Poelten has also attained an important position.


R. Zahlbrecht and O. Helwich (eds.), 100 Jahre Photographische Gesellschaft in Wien. 1861-1961, 1961; A. Baier, Die Photographie und ihre Entwicklung in Wien 1839-1911, Dissertation, Vienna 1965; O. Breicha, Kreative Fotografie in Oesterreich, exhibition catalogue, Graz 1974; H. Frank, Vom Zauber alter Licht-Bilder. Fruehe Photographie in Oesterreich 1840-60, 1981; O. Hochreiter and T. Starl (eds.), Geschichte der Fotografie in Oesterreich, 2 vols., exhibition catalogue., Bad Ischl 1983; Rueckblende: 150 Jahre Photographie in Oesterreich, exhibition catalogue, Vienna 1989; Fisch & Fleisch. Photos aus Oesterreich 1945-95, exhibition catalogue, Krems 1995.