Timeline of Photography

Krase, Andreas; Dobrusskin, Sebastian; Koch, Mogens S.; Oggenfuss, Daniel; Pollmeier, Klaus; Spalinger Zumbühl, Barbara (February 2003). Timeline of Photography TU-Dresden

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The concept for a "Timeline of Photography" was developed in conjunction with the project "SEPIA II" (for further information see the link "SEPIA" on the homepage), initiated by the European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA). The didactic chronologies, which have been submitted by different partners, are designed to offer guidance through the broad spectrum of technical developments and manifold issues of conservation of photographic processes for an interested public. The concentration on illustrations from the second half of the 19th century is justified in the historically unique wealth of experimentally developed processes and applications of this period. These were a precondition for the industrialization of the production of pictures. Today, the images from this time are frequently the subject, often in a problematic sense, of conservation and restoration efforts. The development of a timeline has made it necessary to examine the traditional patterns of historiography, in which the history of photography appears to be exclusively a history of inventions and in which one adheres to the frequently confirmed self-understanding of the former protagonists. Justification for a renewed questioning of the relationship between the photographic image, the underlying technology, and its use in society is also, however, given by refraining from defining photographic technology and its history as a history of media. The versions of a history of photography as a history of art, which have, in the meantime, become widespread, are an example for this. For the mediation of the history of photography from a current point of view it is therefore essential to oppose the historiography of the 19th century with an extended model. The historiography that is fixated on a simple concept of progress and on the success of the individual inventor cannot be the model (anymore). On closer examination, for example, it can be shown that in European countries the individual processes were never introduced and/or used in precisely the same period and that they could be taken up again at later times. The timeline refers to some of these cases. For this reason also, the construction of a precisely determined, absolute chronology of photography does not appear to make sense. There were, however, a number of general demands on and problems with photography, the solution of which was worked on from the onset in international unity. These were not only limited to the 19th century. They exist, with certain shifts of emphasis, into the present. From the onset, for example, improvements were sought in the following areas: - Extent of rendered detail and range of recorded information - Mass reproducibility - Cost of production - Stability - Colour reproduction The Didactical Museum is a history of photography of the 19th century from the storyteller perspective of Hermann Krone. As a trainee in photography, a natural scientist, and a teacher, Krone did not proceed systematically. His personal experiences and preferences, and with them, his insights into the developing paths that photography was taking, found their own expression. The goal was not a final completeness that could be attained only once it had all been finished. Instead, a very specific penetration of subjective and objective aspects was made an integral part of the timeline. The use of photography as an applied science and the development of duplicating processes is given special consideration. The history of technology corresponds with the history of functions and applications. In principle, the project must be regarded as incomplete. In some parts further execution is required. This will take place gradually. Corrections and additions are welcome at any time!

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Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture
Bern Academy of the Arts > HKB Teaching


Krase, Andreas;
Hesse, Wolfgang;
Krase, Andreas;
Dobrusskin, Sebastian0000-0003-0326-4960;
Koch, Mogens S.;
Oggenfuss, Daniel;
Pollmeier, Klaus and
Spalinger Zumbühl, Barbara


A General Works > AC Collections. Series. Collected works
A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
T Technology > TR Photography






Sebastian Dobrusskin

Date Deposited:

27 Nov 2019 07:46

Last Modified:

22 Mar 2023 10:18

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