The exhibition displays the photographs by topic, showcasing different uses of photography in the 19th century: selected portraits provide a snapshot of German society; documentary style captures the social realities of inner cities and historical events; topographical views create an imaginary map of Germany from Flensburg to Munich, Alsace to Gdansk. And international travel photographers create an image of Germany by basing German identity on the topos of Rhine travel.
The exhibits include incunabula from the infancy of photography such as Carl August Steinheil’s early daguerreotypes around 1864 as well as an exceptionally comprehensive collection of nature studies for painters, masterfully depicted with light by the photographer Georg-Maria Eckert, and Ludwig Belitski’s photographic atlas containing images of items for an arts and crafts museum.
In addition to the fabulously costumed characters in Joseph Albert’s fairy tale ball pictures, rare portfolios and travel albums, the exhibition also features early images of urban landmarks from Munich and Berlin by well-known photographers such as Franz Hanfstaengl and Leopold Ahrendts. Other hidden gems are the anonymous portraits and, most especially, Georg Koppmann’s pictures of Hamburg depicting not only the architectural but also the social structure of an entire district of the city.
Münchner Stadtmuseum Website