“ALFUR SKULLS IN HALMAHERA”
Willy Kükenthal’s Expedition to the Malay Archipelago (1893/94) and Photography’s Struggle for Independence
In 1893, zoologist Willy Kükenthal embarked on an expedition to the Malay Archipelago on behalf of the Senckenbergische Gesellschaft. He made extensive use of photography during his journey. These images feature in a richly illustrated account of his travels, whose various techniques make it typical for an illustrated book around 1890. The leading protagonists of photographic reproduction at the time were involved in producing the book. While the images accompanying the travel report are retouched and idealized in the style of traditional painting, Kükenthal is at pains in the appendix to include photogrammetric images of the human skulls he brought back with him. He does this by modifying a method developed by Swiss scientists Fritz and Paul Sarasin.
“SOMETHING SENSATIONALLY NEW” – MARBURG IN COLOR
Georg Mylius’ Autochromes at Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum
für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg
In fall 2018, Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg (German Documentation Center for Art History – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg) received as a gift from the Hessen State Archive in Marburg a portfolio of 86 autochromes measuring 9 x 12 cm. Taken around 1910 by the young pharmacist Georg Heinrich Mylius, they are primarily of motifs from Marburg and the immediate surroundings – the Landgrafenschloss (Marburg Castle), Elisabethkirche (Church of St. Elisabeth), views of the Marburg upper town – as well as “Bremen vom Freiballon aus 1912” (Bremen from a gas balloon, 1912), Havelsee in Brandenburg, and Swedish islets. In 1912 the publisher N. G. Elwert Verlag sold 24 of the Marburg images as three-color postcards. The autochromes are early examples of photographs taken using the Lumière process and are the earliest preserved color photographs of the town of Marburg. As such, they are of particular importance for the history of photography and the State of Hessen. The portfolio is presented in the following.
PHOTOGRAPHY AS TECHNOLOGY, PRODUCT, AND ADVERTISING
The Photo Technology Collection of the Deutsches Optisches Museum in Jena
As part of a complete repositioning and redesign of the Deutsches Optisches Museum (D.O.M.) in Jena through 2022, the holdings of the Photo Technology section are being inventoried and backed up for the first time. Alongside several hundred historical cameras and lenses, the focus will now be on tens of thousands of photographs which not only document the constant growth of the museum’s own collection, but also recall the history of photography from the 1840s onwards. Furthermore, it was possible to identify in the holdings over 2, 300 examples of “gray literature” photo technical publications, e.g., product catalogs and operating instructions dating for the most part from the first decades of the 20th century. The holdings are being preserved and digitized using cutting-edgte scanning and photo technology. In future they will be accessible online via a D.O.M. portal.
PAINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHY IN MEDIA DIALOG
A Special Exhibition by Kunsthalle Karlsruhe Devoted to the Relationship Between Photography and Painting in the 19th Century – with a Contemporary Installation by Takashi Arai
When it was invented, photography entered into a relationship with the established arts – first and foremost painting. With the special exhibition “Camera and Canvas”, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe is once again sounding out this relationship. The project sees itself as the beginning of an endeavor to integrate the topic of photography in the institute’s future collection and exhibition policy, in which it previously did not feature. The exhibition covers the period between 1839 and 1900, resolutely generating dialog between the history of painting and photography through an abundance of material. The Kunsthalle Karlsruhe painting collection provides the foil for this narrative, which focuses primarily on genres. The space and sound installation by Japanese artist Takashi Arai, in which he reactivates the daguerreotype technique, serves as a contemporary counterpoint with which he references the beginnings of photography.
THE LIFE OF COLORS IS COMPLEX INDEED
Color Photography from the Ringier Bildarchiv in Stadtmuseum Aarau – an Approach
The photography exhibition “Vielfarbig ist das Leben” (Life is multi-colored) at Stadtmuseum Aarau (February 20, 2018 – April 3, 2019) showcased Swiss press color photographs from 1954 until 1974. The presentation of the first purely color portfolio in Ringier Bildarchiv was preceded by the “Farbe bekennen” (Show your colors) development and conservation project, which in 2014 was mentioned in the photography circular (N.F. 83). Following on from that essay, the first part of this article provides an insight into the imagery of the approximately 39,000 colorslides in the portfolio and localizes this in the history of the illustrated press. A workshop entitled “Faszination Farbfotografie” (The fascination of color photography) was held on the occasion of the exhibition. By means of an overview of the history of color photography from the “AA” portfolio of press images, the collection of historical photographs at Stadtmuseum Aarau, and the participants’ private, family images, a discussion of the significance and private use of color photography was initiated and the fascination it triggers explored.