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Die Kunst in der Photographie

The German publication Die Kunst in der Photographie was edited by Franz Goerke and published over a 12 year period (1897-1908). In the introduction to the first issue Franz Goerke wrote:
"The development of amateur photography has reached a critical point. Out of the wide circle of amateurs has emerged a small community which sees more in photography than a playful hobby. A new era in amateur photography has thereby begun, the era of artistic and highly personal photography… The publisher has in this work set himself the task of presenting an overview of this kind of photography, its problems and achievements, through the medium of reproduction prints." (translated from the original German)
The number of issues varied through the years it was published with individual issues bimonthly until 1903, and on a quarterly basis from 1904 onward; however, eight issues appeared in 1908. It was also not a bound publication but issued in thin cardboard folio folders: letterpress was issued with beautiful large plate photogravures and starting in 1901, autotypes (actually, similar to halftones) were also included as supplements. (these are tipped on various colored paper stock) There were a total of 356 photogravures issued over the 12 year run of this publication and 318 autotypes for a total of 674 "art supplements".
Rolf H. Krauss in his articles in the journal that were published in the History of Photography (Vol. 10, No. 4, October - December 1986, Vol. 11, No. 1, January - March 1987) said:
"This publication may well be the most important and valuable documentation of art photography in the German language but, because of its rarity, has remained virtually unknown."
In Frank Heidtmann‘s Die deutsche Photoliteratur 1839-1978: Theorie, Technik, Bildleistungen : e. systemat. Bibliogr. d. selbständigen deutschsprachigen Photoliteratur / German Photographic Literature, 1839-1978: Theory, Technology, Visual: A Classified Bibliography of German-Language Photographic Publications (München; New York; London; Paris: Saur, 1980) this publication is included in entry #00370 where it says:
"It was the first photographic journal in the world that concerned itself only with the photographic image and its aesthetics, which ignored all other themes, and treated art photography as an international movement."
The importance of this largely unknown publication is the effect that it had on pictorialism. It came out six years before the American influential publication Camera Work edited by Alfred Stieglitz and they used photographs by 23 of the same artists. Entire issues of the publication were dedicated to American photography (for example 1898: issue 1) and to the work of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia (1901: issue 6 and 1908: issue 3). It is difficult to deny this journal had an immense influence that has been largely ignored in the English-language histories of photography.
I‘d like to acknowledge the kind assistance of a private collector in helping to prepare this material and we would welcome any further details on this publication. Send me an email at (17 May 2006) 



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