Fotograf Magazine

The History of European Photography 1900-2000

The book launch for the final volume of The History of European Photography 1900–2000 took place in November 2016 at the Albertina in Vienna with dozens of historians, curators and photographers from many countries participating. The celebration culminated efforts to provide the most extensive recapitulation of the developments that took place in the field of photography during the last century. The whole work comprises three volumes consisting of six books published in English. Authors from thirty-five countries worked under the leadership of theorist and educator Václav Macek, who is also the founder and director of the Bratislava Month of Photography annual festival and the Central European House of Photography. Michaela Bosáková coordinated their collaboration. Understandably, the volumes also cover photography in the Czech and Slovak territories. The cover of one of the volumes features the iconic photo and symbol of Soviet despotism taken on the 21st of August 1968 by Ladislav Bielik (1939–1984), who was denied credit for the photo for decades.

After more than ten years of intense effort, the FOTOFO publishing brand will find it difficult to follow with a similarly magnanimous project. The scope is unprecedented. Each volume follows a particular period and covers Europe from Albania to the United Kingdom. From a scientific point of view, this encyclopaedically structured publication serves as the foundation for future exploration of the topic (in some cases, it presents the results of primary research). Lists of names, maps, calendars of events, basic medallions and bibliographies of photographers will serve as aids. This editorial achievement is over 2,636 pages and contains more than 1,800 reproductions. In addition to known signatures, many forgotten names will come to the fore, and this is a crucial aspect. The History of European Photography fills the enormous chasm that existed in general awareness for an alarmingly long period of time: after all, if there were no comparable compendium is such an important field, which photography certainly is, there would be a gap in the comprehensive overview of European culture in general. Consequently, it will benefit anyone who is interested in art and its historically based motivation.

This publication comes closer to recognizing and filling the needs of the general public and begs to be included in the resources of not only university libraries.

 

Josef Moucha

 

 

The History of European Photography 1900–1938. Bratislava: The Central European House of Photography. 2010. Print.

The History of European Photography 1939–1969. Bratislava: The Central European House of Photography, 2014. Print.

The History of European Photography 1970–2000. Bratislava: The Central European House of Photography, 2016. Print.

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