Nearly 25 years ago, the Kunstbibliothek’s Collection of Photography emerged from a period of inactivity that had lasted decades. Over the past 12 years it has organised exhibitions, lectures, and symposia at the Museum für Fotografie, and engaged with the diverse history of photography through large-scale research projects. The exhibition ‘A Photograph Rarely Stands Alone‘ presents the first survey of the collection’s acquisitions from this period.
Organised into three general sections – photographs of people, architectural photography, and experimental photography – the exhibition offers visitors a chance to rediscover and reacquaint themselves with important photographic work from the 20th and 21st centuries. The show features works by well-known photographers such as Otto Steinert, Boris Mikhailov, Francesca Woodman, Barbara Klemm, Man Ray, and Anna and Bernhard Blume, presenting them alongside a host of less prominent names. The exhibition showcases a wide variety of motifs and photographic techniques, including staged photographs, portraits of celebrities, reportage photography, commercial photography, microphotographs, darkroom experiments, collages, and photograms.
At a time of limited acquisition funds, it is particularly important for public collections to have sponsors and friends who provide regular support. Numerous works from the exhibition entered the Collection of Photography as gifts. In this regard, photographers themselves have been just as generous as galleries and private donors, as well as the museum’s friend group, the Verein der Freunde des Museums für Fotografie.