per zoom


Reimagining One’s Own. Ethnographic Photography in Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Europe

Mi, 01.12.2021, 17:30 – Fr, 03.12.2021, 17:00
The photo collection of the Volkskundemuseum Wien was established along the lines of a “comparative ethnology of Europe” in the late nineteenth century, focusing on the territories of the Habsburg Monarchy. Today, the assembled materials raise manifold questions about their origins and, as a consequence, about the visual ethnography of “one’s own”.
Online via zoom: link to webinar
Get together via link to room
Workshop Session via a seperate zoom link: link to event

Just as colonial ethnography created an image of the "others," ethnographers and folklorists in Europe approached their "own" populations within the continent. The work here is always asymmetrical; it was the ethnographers and photographers who determined what the image of those studied by them looked like. Ethnography at the time conceived "people" with a respective essence in mind. It designed primitivizing and exoticizing typologies, such as in the form of so-called type photography—a genre of images that circulated far beyond the narrow scientific context and could serve the most diverse purposes.

In these photographs, scientific, political, and commercial interests interwove to form imaginary spaces that unfolded their effect in nationalist, imperial, but also tourist discourses. They were used to "preserve" what was about to disappear and to support a wide variety of arguments. They predetermined who was to be seen in which role and who remained invisible, and distinguished between "one’s own" and the "other". Ethnographic photography depicted its object but also constructed it in doing so. It contributed to the constitution of the scientific subject of "one’s own people".

The conference is less concerned with motifs than with the genesis and the use of these photographs. How did the construction, production, and commercialization as well as multifariously intersecting interests entwine? How did these images contribute to defining the institutions, networks, and infrastructures in which they and other media circulated? How were the respective typologies used as common space to negotiate culture and politics? And how do museums and archives deal with these records today? How can they be shown and exhibited at all?

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Conference Participation

The conference takes place online via zoom.
Throughout the conference, a room is open for socializing.

No registration required for online participation.
(The hybrid event on-site originally planned is cancelled due to the current Covid-19 situation.)
The conference language is English.
Free admission.

A conference of Volkskundemuseum Wien and Photoinstitut Bonartes
Organization: Herbert Justnik, Martin Keckeis and Julia Schulte-Werning

Updated Program

Day 1, 1. December 2021, 17.30 to 19.00
17.30 Welcome (zoom)
Herbert Justnik and Martin Keckeis, Conference Organizers
Monika Faber, Director Photoinstitut Bonartes, Vienna
Matthias Beitl, Director Volkskundemuseum Wien, Vienna
17.45 Key Note and Discussion (zoom)
The Kaiser‘s Favorite. Mapping the German Empire with Three-Color Photography ca. 1900
Hanin Hannouch, Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Max-Planck, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Berlin / Florence
In Discussion with
Diana M. Natermann, University of Hamburg
Monika Faber, Director Photoinstitut Bonartes, Vienna
Day 2, 2. December 2021, 9.00 to 17.00
8.30 Get together (
9.00 Key Note (zoom)
Looking Home. Ethnography, Photography and the Display of Italian Cultures
Agnese Ghezzi, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca
10.30 Coffee Break (
11.00 Panel I: Ethnographic Photography in Europe as Epistemic Object (zoom)
Input I
Making Knowledge in the Field. Ethnographic Practices in the Hutsul Region
Martin Rohde, Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg
Input II
Between Realism, Kitsch and Faireality. Imagining Hutsuls in Art and Culture
Bohdan Shumylovych, Center for Urban History, Lviv
Input III
Women as Pioneers of Visual Ethnography. With Camera and Pen to a New Method of Scientific Documentation
Ulrich Hägele, Eberhard-Karls-University, Tübingen
Moderation: Magdalena Puchberger, Volkskundemuseum Wien, Vienna
13.00 Lunch Break (
14.00 Panel II: Infrastructure and the Circulation of Images (zoom)
Input I
Searching for Russia‘s Own Orient. Public Debates on Ethnographic Photography in Tsarist Russia and Early Soviet Union
Helena Holzberger, Ludwigs-Maximilians-University, Munich
Input II
One Image, Many Images. The Biography of a Habsburgian Type Photograph
Herbert Justnik, Volkskundemuseum Wien, Vienna
Input III
Europe in Pictures at the Musée de l’Homme. Circulating Photographs, Collecting Types
Anaïs Mauuarin, CNRS-Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris
Moderation: Friedrich Tietjen, freelance historian and curator
16.00 Get together (
(The Exhibition Tour is cancelled.)
Day 3, 3. December 2021, 10.00 to 16.00
9.30 Get togehter (
10.00 Panel III: Working with Photographic Records in Museums and Archives (zoom)
Input I
Unboxing Photographs. Photo-Objects on Display
Stefanie Klamm, Freie Universität, Berlin
Input II
Outliving the Image. Beyond the Anonymous in Anthropological “Type” Photographs from the Emma & Felix v. Luschan Collection
Katarina Matiasek, Photoinstitut Bonartes, Vienna
Input III
On Similarities. Trying to Grasp a Shared History Beyond Narratives of Ethnic Difference in Lower Styria. The Exhibition ŠTAJER-MARK
Eva Tropper, Museumsakademie Joanneum, Graz
Moderation: Herbert Justnik
12.00 Lunch Break (
13.00 Workshop Session (via separate zoom link: link to zoom event)
In three parallel workshops, we will elaborate on the aspects and questions raised at the key notes and panels.
Workshop I
Moderation: Magdalena Puchberger
Workshop II
Moderation: Friedrich Tietjen
Workshop III
Moderation: Herbert Justnik
14.30 Coffee Break (
15.00 Concluding Discussion (zoom)
Moderation: Herbert Justnik and Julia Schulte-Werning, Conference Organizers
15.30 Get together (

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