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Insights into the Photographic Collection of the Austrian Geographic Society The Geographic Society (Die Geographische Gesellschaft, ÖGG) was founded in 1856 in Vienna. Its collection contained about 3,300 photographs, including 1,500 from the era of the former monarchy. Here, a passion for discovery becomes visible in a unique manner, meant to be disseminated among a broad public using photography, which was considered an authentic medium.
The holdings demonstrate what kinds of visual information about far-away, exotic and (yet) unexplored places the Austrian public was confronted with: the majority of the images served as models for illustrations in magazines and books. The world appears as an object of discovery, of research of every kind, but also as a place that is changed and exploited by colonialism. The photographs are of ethnographic and geographic character, but often also deal with current affairs. They tell of fascinating architecture and foreign customs, of revolutions, natural disasters and industrialization as it spread out to the furthest corners of the world, of the construction of bridges and railways, oil drilling, agriculture and labor under a wide variety of circumstances.
[Translation: Alexa Nieschlag]