Tag Archives: culture

Austria’s fattest “photo album”

26 Oct

Today, October 26, is a holiday in Austria, commemorating the vote in Parliament that established Austria’s permanent neutrality. (My understanding is that it was the first business enacted by the Parliament after all occupying powers had left Austrian territory after the Second World War. More about the treaty here.)

It is probably no accident, then, that the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) chose today to draw attention to the special photo and image archive of the Austrian National Library. Here is a taste from the ORF site of the millions of photos stored.

The ORF article is lengthy and only in German, unfortunately. Some of the main points they make: the Imperial Collection created a foundation for the current collection (yes, there is a photo of the enigmatic Empress Elisabeth); the rise of press photography bearing contemporary witness to life vs. studio portraits; the suppression of free media and therefore, of course, photojournalism as well as the banning of Jewish photographers during the Nazi regime and the resurrection of those professions after the Second World War; the role photography played in documenting the Cold War and the images of its major players (one of the most chilling photos for me on the ORF site was of Russian soldiers goose-stepping in Moscow in 1988); and the challenges of maintaining a usable archive in the world of digital photography where photos can be snapped one a second. (In fact, the teaser for the article mentions sinking into Austria’s fattest “photo album”.)

A heads-up: The Austrian National Library is planning for 2023 a retrospective of photos by Yoichi Okamoto who was head of the United States Information Service during the Occupation in Austria and later presidential photographer for Lyndon B. Johnson.

Those who would like to see more photos, I have chosen the link to the digital archive with images of Vienna to share with you here.

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Praterwal wird ins Wien Museum gehoben

20 Jul

https://wien.orf.at/stories/3165341/

Here is a nice, light story in a world full of heavy news. A 10-meter whale sculpture that stood in front of a Gasthaus (kind of restaurant), zum Walfisch, in the Prater is being moved to the Wien Museum now that the restaurant it represented is no longer there. It is so big that it is being moved in now while the renovations are still ongoing. Eventually it will be hung from the ceiling.

More about this later, I hope, but now I have to go to work. The curse of the drinking classes, as my father loved to quip, possibly quoting George Bernard Shaw. Curse of the writing classes is more like it! 😉

If you’re interested in the renovation of the Wien Museum, I mentioned it in this post: https://ecbinvienna.com/2019/01/10/wien-museum-vienna-museum/