Great news for photobook lovers. Please have a look at this brilliant contribution to the study of photobooks, by our friends of Bonartes Photoinstitut and Albertina Vienna: an online database of Photographic books in Austria 1840-1945 – “a bibliography in progress”.

There are many categories and ways to structure the data. However, to see all 774 entries on one page, just use this link:

Unfortunately, the information is in German only for the moment, but here are some parts in an maybe imperfect, but hopefully useful translation. Enjoy!

“The bibliographic database on photographically illustrated publications was created in the course of preparations for the exhibition “Foto.Buch.Kunst – Umbruch und Neuorientierung in der Buchgestaltung. Austria 1840-1940”, which was shown at the Albertina in Vienna in 2019. The early period was chosen to explore the question of how photography found its way into books and eventually advanced to become a printed mass medium. A “photographically illustrated publication” means both books with photographs glued in and books that reproduce photographs by means of a printing process, regardless of which one. This excludes illustrated books in which the photograph serves solely as a technical aid, for example to reproduce drawings or paintings in print. Geographically, the restriction refers to the current borders of Austria. Austrian” publications are understood in the broadest sense to be those in which Austrian photographers, text authors, editors, publishers or other producers were significantly involved. The inventory ends with the political, social and cultural break caused by the Second World War. Publications with a later year of publication are only included in the database if they are further editions of titles published before 1945. In addition, works by key picture authors (such as Stefan Kruckenhauser or Simon Moser) who continued their publishing careers beyond the defined turning point are taken into account.

Over the course of time, the conditions of production and the appearance of illustrated books changed enormously. Their diverse design makes a tangible binding definition of the “photo book” impossible to this day. The deliberate renunciation of the limiting notion of ingenious authorship or of normative quality standards of any kind opens up an enlightened view of the diversity of this medium. In the bibliography, large-format volumes with original prints and artistically designed photo books stand side by side with cheaply printed company brochures or richly illustrated travelogues. Newspapers and magazines are not considered, even though they may occasionally come close to the character of a book. Portfolio works (as an unbound form of publication) and albums, on the other hand, are included in the database – especially since they are comparatively little researched – if several copies of a title can be proven (and thus go beyond a singular, privately produced collection object).

The material presented offers an overview, but cannot claim to be complete. Work on the database is ongoing; further titles, bibliographical details (such as further editions) and image examples will be added as they become available.

Timm Starl and Hanna Schneck were responsible for bibliographing the holdings; the latter will continue to do so in the future. Michael Ponstingl is editorially responsible for the project. We are very grateful for any comments, additions and suggestions for corrections. Please contact Hanna Schneck:”