The Eye and the Camera – A History of Photography from the Collections of the Albertina in Vienna
The imperial art collection of the Albertina in Vienna first began including the then young and controversial medium of photography as early as the 1850s. The collection was primarily devoted to views of Vienna and photographs of engravings, i.e. art reproductions. These included the oldest preserved photographic view of Vienna, a Daguerreotype by the physicist and chemist Andreas Ritter von Ettinghausen taken in 1840.
Currently, the Albertina photographic collection contains the hitherto most expensive photograph in the history of Austrian photography, Rudolf Koppitz’s Composition, a section of which is reproduced overleaf. Another attraction is a photographic rocket, invented by the Saxon engineer Alfred Maul, which had a camera built into the bullet that was fired into the sky. The shutter of the camera lens opened at the vertex of the flight curve, and everything subsequently parachuted down to earth. The device was intended to detect the movements of enemy troops.
The combination of different collections and an active purchasing policy has greatly enriched the variety and value of the Albertina photographic collection. This first exhibition is divided into seven chapters that lead through the history of photography and the parallel developments of the medium’s technical and photo-visual possibilities.
The exhibition was curated by Monika Faber. Realisaition in Winterthur: Urs Stahel. A collaboration with the Albertina, Vienna.
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