The History and Us

The Gesture of Displaying – Photo Albums in the Archive

Saturday 22 October, 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Stadtarchiv Köln
Eifelwall 5, 50674 Köln

© Heidi Pfohl


For a long time, photo albums were attributed exclusively to the amateur photographer sector and received only a little attention. With growing interest in the material requirements of collecting and archiving, photo albums are now also gaining the attention of museums, archives and specialist magazines. But how can photo albums be archived and how can these individual objects be made accessible? Furthermore, how can these objects be displayed in the first place? After all, an album's pages have to be turned over and its contents sometimes comprise other materials besides photographs, such as newspaper articles, drawings or inscriptions? And why do photo albums become (public) archival objects even though they often contain purely private stories? Starting with the materiality of a photo album and its differentiation from other media, its private or public function and its cultural practice; exploring its possible limits, its forms of media staging and the practices of an artistic use; to questions of its use in archives and presentation in museums, its reprocessing, restoration, and digitization - the photo album raises different modes of use and multifaceted spaces of possibility, which are approached from a scholarly and photo-historical perspective as well as from an artistic and applied perspective, and which focus on gestures of displaying.

The symposium takes place in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie (Section History and Archives) and Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln as part of the program Artist Meets Archive #3 of Internationale Photoszene Köln. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Kunststiftung NRW and the City of Cologne. 



I. From the Archive to the Photo Album 
Moderated by: Miriam Zlobinski (DGPh, Curator) 

9.30 a.m. Welcome
Michael Albers (Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln) 
Heidi Pfohl (Photoszene Köln)
Miriam Zlobinski (DGPh) 

9.45 to 11 a.m.
Roundtable discussion with archive directors and staff participating in Artist Meets Archive #3:
Dr. Carmen Pérez González (Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst) 
Michael Albers (Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln) 
Lucia Halder (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum)
Nina Matuszewski (NS-Dokumentationszentrum Köln) 

11 to 11.45 a.m. 
The Archives of Albums. Reflections on Collections of Private Photography
Dr. Friedrich Tietjen (Reinbeckhallen Foundation Berlin) 

11.45 to 12 p.m. Discussion

II. Photo Albums in an Artistic Context and Medial Enacting

Moderated by: Lucia Halder (DGPh, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum)

12.30 to 13.15 p.m.
Remembering, Documenting, Preserving: Auctorial Self-Enacting in the Photo Album 
Dr. Kathrin Yacavone (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen) 

13.15 to 14.00 p.m.
Design Strategies in Photo Albums of Artists in the Period of the 1920s and 1930s
Judith Riemer (Folkwang University of the Arts Essen) 

14.00 to 14.45 p.m.
Experimenting, Gluing, Archiving: Album Practices of German-Speaking Photographers in Exile in New York in the 1940s
Helene Roth (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich) 

14.45 to 15.00 p.m. Discussion

III. From the Photo Album back to the Archive – Photo Albums in Archives, Agencies and Museums
Moderated by: Miriam Zlobinski (DGPh, Curator) 

15.30 to 16.15 p.m.
On the Preservation and Utilization of Photo Albums in Archives and Agencies
Johanna Bose (akg-images Berlin) 

16.15 to 17.00 p.m.
Conservation Challenges of Photo Albums - Inventory and Conservation Measures
Peter Konarzewski (Museum Folkwang Essen) 

17.00 to 18.00 p.m. Final discussion with all speakers 
Moderated by: Miriam Zlobinski and Lucia Halder


Dr. Friedrich Tietjen:
The Archives of Albums. Reflections on Collections of Private Photography 
[Die Archive der Alben. Überlegungen zu Sammlungen Privater Fotografie] 

Dr. Friedrich Tietjen works as a curator and research associate at the Stiftung Reinbeckhallen Berlin, where he is currently leading a project on private photography in East Germany 1980-2000. He conducted a similar project on private photography in Austria 1930-1950 with Herbert Justnik at the Volkskundemuseum in Vienna. He co-organizes the annual conference After Post-Photography and has written extensively on various aspects of photography. A selection of texts can be found at 

Dr. Kathrin Yacavone:
Remembering, Documenting, Preserving: Auctorial Self-Enacting in the Photo Album
[Erinnern, Dokumentieren, Aufbewahren: Auktoriale Selbstinszenierungen im Fotoalbum]

Dr. Kathrin Yacavone is a photo historian and literary scholar, and Thyssen@KWI Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen. She studied General and Comparative Literature, English, Theatre Studies and Art History in Mainz, Berlin, Edinburgh and Paris. Publications include Benjamin, Barthes and the Singularity of Photography (2012), Photography, Portraiture and Intermedial Authorship in Nineteenth-Century France (2023), and most recently co-edited two issues of Photographic History on photo albums in the 19th century (2021) and in the 20th and 21st centuries (2022). Her current research project is dedicated to the history of institutionalization of photography. 

Judith Riemer:
Creation Strategies in Photo Albums of Artists in the Period of the 1920s and 1930s
[Gestaltungsstrategien in Fotoalben von Künstler:innen im Zeitraum der 1920er und 1930er Jahre]

Judith Riemer studied art history and film studies in Leipzig and Jena. Since 2019 she has been pursuing her PhD at Folkwang University of the Arts Essen on the topic "The photo album as a medium of artistic expression in the 1920s and 1930s". She is co-founder of the interdisciplinary working group for (photo) album research "forum foto+album". 

Helene Roth:
Experimenting, Gluing, Archiving: Album Practices of German-Speaking Photographers in Exile in New York in the 1940s
[Experimentieren, Kleben, Archivieren: Album-Praktiken deutschsprachiger Fotograf:innen im Exil in New York der 1940er Jahre]

Helene Roth studied art history, cultural studies and education in Munich and Paris. She is a research assistant at the Institute for Art History at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and works as an art educator for the Museum Educational Center in Munich. As part of the ERC project METROMOD, she is doing her PhD on the emigration of German-speaking photographers* to New York between the 1930s and 1940s. Since January 2021 she has been a scholarship holder of the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V. 

Johanna Bose:
About the Preservation and Utilization of Photo Albums in Archives and Agencies
[Über die Erhaltung und Verwertung von Fotoalben in Archiv und Bildagentur]

Johanna Bose studied fashion design at the Berlin University of the Arts and image science at Donau University Krems. She works for the picture agency akg-images (Archive for Art and History) and lives in Berlin. 

Peter Konarzewski:
Conservation Challenges of Photo Albums - Inventory and Conservation Measures
[Konservatorische Herausforderungen bei Fotoalben – Bestandsaufnahme und Erhaltungsmaßnahmen] 

Peter Konarzewski studied photo conservation and has been working for the Center for Photography at the Museum Folkwang in Essen since 2021. His field of activity includes the implementation of conservation measures on unique photographs, the supervision of exhibition and loan processes, as well as consulting on the subject of preventive conservation. In his capacity as a member of the photography department at the Folkwang University of the Arts, he also teaches courses on the materiality of photography and photo conservation to students of all photography programs. 

Moderators and archive directors (and staff) of archives and institutions which are part of Artist Meets Archive #3: 

Miriam Zlobinski

Miriam Zlobinski works as a researcher, curator and author. She is co-founder of "ReVue - Magazine for Photography and Perception" and lecturer at the Berlin University of the Arts. In 2016 she was part of the picture editing class at the Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie. She is pursuing a PhD at Humboldt University in Berlin and received the 2018 Research Award of the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation. As a curator, she most recently oversaw the exhibition "In Waves #womenincovid" in Berlin, Lüneburg and Tallinn. 

Lucia Halder

Lucia Halder has been head of the Photographic Collection of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne since 2015. After studying history and art history, she worked, among other things, as a research assistant at the House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany and as a freelance exhibition organizer. Halder is chair of the History and Archives Section of the German Photographic Society (DGPh) and an editorial member of the blog

Dr. Carmen Pérez González

Dr. Carmen Pérez González received her PhD on 19th century photography in Iran (Leiden University 2010) and has more than 10 years of experience as a curator at various museums. From 2009 to 2014, she was a research assistant at the Museum of East Asian Art and is the author of the catalogue "From Istanbul to Yokohama - The Camera's Journey to Asia 1839-1900" (2014, Verlag Walter König). She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Wuppertal and founder/idea creator of the tablet app "Golden Memories" (family photography and memory training). 

Dr. Johanna Gummlich

Dr. Johanna Gummlich, M.A. is an art historian and has been head of the Rheinisches Bildarchiv of the City of Cologne since 2010. The main focus of her work is the new conception of the profile for the Rheinisches Bildarchiv with special consideration of digital photography, database-supported documentation and presentation strategies as well as the user-side support of the new archive building from the architectural competition to the relocation and commissioning of the building. Lectureships at the art history institutes in Cologne and Bonn as well as cooperation with the TH Köln. 

Nina Matuszewski

Nina Matuszewski, historian and scientific documentalist, has been responsible for the area of documentation and collections at the NS Documentation Center of the City of Cologne and for the Memorial Book for the Jewish Victims of National Socialism from Cologne since 2007.