Publisher Note

This publication accompanies the exhibitions 2022-2024 at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg / Kunst Haus Wien / Gewerbemuseum Winterthur

Photography has always depended on the extraction and exploitation of so-called natural raw materials.
In the early 19th century, these were salt, fossil fuels such as bitumen and carbon, as well as copper and silver, which were all used for the first images on copper plates and for salt paper prints.
Having started out using copper, coal, silver, and paper—the raw materials of analogue image production in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—photography now relies, in the age of the smartphone, on rare earths and metals like coltan, cobalt, and europium. The exhibition focuses on the history of key raw materials utilized in photography and establishes a connection between the history of their extraction, their disposal, and climate change. Looking at historical and contemporary works, it tells the story of photography as a history of industrial production and demonstrates that the medium is deeply implicated in human-induced changes to nature.

The exhibition shows contemporary works by a range of photographers and artists, including Ignacio Acosta, Lisa Barnard, F&D Cartier, Susanne Kriemann, Mary Mattingly, Daphné Nan Le Sergent, Lisa Rave, Alison Rossiter, Metabolic Studio’s Optics Division, Robert Smithson, Simon Starling, Anaïs Tondeur, James Welling, Noa Yafe and Tobias Zielony, along with historical works by Eduard Christian Arning, Hermann Biow, Oscar and Theodor Hofmeister, Jürgen Friedrich Mahrt, Hermann Reichling, and others, and historical material from the Agfa Foto-Historama in Leverkusen, the Eastman Kodak Archive in Rochester and the FOMU Photo Museum in Antwerp as well as mineral samples collected by Alexander von Humboldt from the collection of the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin.


Mining Photography

— The Ecological Footprint of Image Production

by Various Artists

Release Place Leipzig, Germany
Edition 1st edition
Release Date 2022
Writer: Various Writers
Artist: Various Artists
ISBN-13: 9783959056564
Topics History Of Photography, Mines, Raw Materials
Language English
Format Softcover
Dimensions 19.0 × 25.0 cm
Pages 176