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Industrial photography can be defined as photographic practice that takes place within and/or at the behest of an industrial organization, to document production processes, products, work organization, employees, or the layout, equipment, or culture of an enterprise. The pictures may serve either internal (e.g. administrative or industrial relations) or external (e.g. advertising or public relations) purposes. In principle there is


no distinction between images made by in-house specialists or professionals hired from outside; and photographs taken by workers or clerical staff. The borderline between documentary pictures and journalistic, advertising, and public relations ones is fluid, depending on context and usage in individual cases. The use of photographs to depict industrial activity and products began in the 1850s and 1860s. Few firms employed their own photographers, but commissioned independent operators, or employees who could use a camera. Many well-known figures worked occasionally for industrial companies. Carleton Watkins in the late 19th century produced many pictures for mining, shipping, and railway companies in California. Albert RengerPatzsch repeatedly took on industrial work throughout his career, for example with the ZĂźndapp Works in Nuremberg in 1930, or Schubert & Salzer, a manufacturer of textile machinery in Ingolstadt, after 1949. Margaret Bourke-White began her career as an advertising and industrial photographer in Cleveland, Ohio. Industrial photography cannot be tied to a particular aesthetic or function. There are innumerable links with other branches of the medium, such as portraiture, reportage, and architectural and advertising photography. However, it has been particularly associated with certain technical innovations (flash, panoramic equipment) and styles, such as the use of extreme chiaroscuro and, in general, New Objectivity. The 1920s were characterized by especially close links between artistic and applied, including industrial, photography.

Margaret Bourke-White: The Photography of Design, Campbell Soup: Peeling Onions (1935), gelatin silver print [Tacoma Art Museum WA, Sept 24-Jan 15] Early industrial photography centred not on the individual worker but on plant, buildings, and the workforce as a group. Working people as such—artisans, labourers, farmworkers, or fisherfolk—were, indeed, photographed from an early stage; vide the fishwives of newhaven, Scotland, immortalized by Hill and Adamson in 1843-5. However, people in industrial photography appear primarily as part of the production process, with the emphasis on their function rather than their individuality. In general, major engineering


projects such as shipbuilding, railway construction, and large-scale building were photographed earlier, more intensively, and more often than office work or the production of food or luxury goods. Well-known examples of the photographic documentation (and presentation) of major building operations are the re-erection of the Crystal Palace in south London in 1857 (P.H.Delamotte)

New Louvre under construction, Paris (circa 1855). Architects: Louis-Tullius-Joachim Visconti and Hector-Martin Lefuel, Photographer: Edouard Baldus.

and the reconstruction of the Louvre in 1855-7 (Édouard Denis Baldus), every stage of which was recorded. The construction of locomotives and the building of railway lines with their tunnels and viaducts was another prominent early subject. Particularly well documented was the creation of the first US transcontinental railway, completed at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869, photographs of which are among the most frequently reproduced examples of classic industrial photography. Less well known but equally spectacular are Marc Ferrez's pictures of the nearly finished Paranagua-Curityba line in Brazil (1879), and images of railway construction in British India. Other massive and comprehensively photographed communications projects included the building of the Suez and Panama Canals, and the Forth Bridge in Scotland.


EDOUARD BALDUS “Le Grande Galarie du Louvre”, 1856-1857

A special case is mining photography, because of lighting problems underground. Especially in coal mining, the dangers associated with artificial light meant that photography began comparatively late, at the end of the 19th century, although pictures of iron-ore extraction had already been taken in the 1860s. Another problem in mining was the complexity of the workings—the network of shafts and galleries—which could not be rendered visually. Hence individual miners were depicted much more often than other kinds of workers. In mining regions (e.g. Cornwall, England) such pictures had a certain nostalgic ‘ethnographic’ flavour; rather than showing a dynamic, growing industry, it was sometimes a case of creating a visual record of a centuries-old tradition. Precise periodization of the themes of industrial photography is scarcely possible. However, certain subjects predominated at particular times. In the early phase, as the examples above indicate, overall views of works and construction sites were commoner than other subjects. Products and individual machines were also photographed early on. The Birmingham firm of Wright & Sons had its railway wagons photographed as early as 1858. Albums of product photographs were already in use as advertising material in the 19th century. Pictures of the workforce became more common from the last quarter of the century. By contrast, production processes and work routines could hardly be shown in situ until plates were sufficiently sensitive and lighting problems had been solved. Such obstacles also meant that for a long time work processes had to be staged, something that was impossible during normal hours. By 1900, together with pictures of events like ship launches, anniversaries, the inauguration (or demolition) of buildings and machines, and the celebration of local and national festivals, almost the whole register of modern industrial picture types was in place. In the 1920s the increased showcasing of products can be seen as a direct consequence of the professionalization of advertising. Dominant at all times, though adapted to prevailing stylistic trends, was a documentary, ‘factual’ visual vocabulary.


The long-term development of industrial photography at individual company level can only be followed reasonably adequately in relation to large firms. Krupp in Essen (founded 1811/12), a maker of iron and steel products, most notably artillery, is an outstanding— and outstandingly well-documented—example of a firm's systematic use of photography. The Krupps, until at least the post-First World War period, greatly valued the photographic depiction of the enterprise, for both internal and external purposes. From early on they used the camera as a means of self-presentation, both privately and for business, although the two spheres are not always easily distinguishable. The company had a photographic department from 1861, and chief works photographer from then until 1901 was a minor relative, Hugo van Werden (1836-1911). The department had multifarious tasks, producing views of the plant (s) and auxiliary buildings, pictures of production processes, portraits of blue-and white-collar employees, and records of product tests, including trials of Krupp guns and armour plate. Accident damage was also photographed, as well as the firm's increasingly elaborate welfare arrangements. (Considerations of surveillance and discipline probably played a part in this.) In important cases, the owners gave detailed instructions about what was to be photographed, and how. On 12 January 1867, for example, Alfred Krupp (1812-87) wrote to van Werden about a proposed works photograph: ‘I suggest using a Sunday, as there is too much smoke, steam and commotion on a weekday, and the loss [of production] would be too great. Whether 500 or 1, 000 men will be needed is up to you.’ The Krupp family was also an official subject, especially when celebrities like the emperor visited. But most pictures, irrespective of subject matter, could be used for a range of purposes: as advertisements, for example, or as illustrations for the company newspaper or in presentation albums; even, in due course, as examples of the history of industrial photography. This seems characteristic of company photographs regardless of their country of origin. Industrialists use photography, within prevailing cultural and economic limits, to project a certain image of themselves and their undertakings. The French textile manufacturers Blin & Blin, Jewish emigrants from Alsace who settled in Elbeuf, Normandy, in 1872, tried to present their factory as a model of state-of-the-art efficiency in order to legitimize themselves in their new surroundings. The Ansaldo shipyard in Genoa also endeavoured through photographs to create an aura of modernity, good organization, and patriotism. The visual record of a firm, developing perhaps over several decades, is never unified, and often an accumulation of pictures created for particular purposes and for particular target audiences inside and outside its walls. Such diversity is emphasized by David Nye in his study of the American giant General Electric. Pictures reveal company values and priorities at a given moment, but there is seldom an autonomous long-term strategy. At the turn of the 21st century, a large corporation may use pictures to address a wide range of publics, including existing or potential consumers of its products, neighbours, environmental groups, shareholders, and its own workforce. Particular events, such as strikes or pollution disasters, may require the production of extensive visual propaganda. Another variant of industrial photography is workers' photography, carried out within the enterprise. In Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s a social democratic-and communistinfluenced photographic movement developed which, in 1931, had c.2, 400 members. It was stimulated by social documentary photography, and contemporary work in Russia. The Arbeiter illustrierte Zeitung and Arbeiter-Fotograf offered publication outlets. However, a


distinctive ‘work’ style failed to emerge: partly because of workers' own self-perception, partly because of the limitations on workplace photography imposed by management. In conclusion, industrial photography is a highly diverse phenomenon. It reflects both the technical and aesthetic currents prevalent in photography generally at a given time; and prevailing notions of photography's usefulness to industry. The pictures can be read to reveal both the messages intended by their makers, and period-specific cultural traits of particular companies and of industry per se. Today, as the case of Bernd and Hilla Becherdemonstrates, some industrial images belong to the canon of art photography. — Jens Jaeger Bibliography ● Nye, D. E., Image Worlds: Corporate Identities at General Electric 1890-1930 (1985). ● Matz, R., Industriefotografie: Aus Firmenarchiven des Ruhrgebiets (1987). ● Tenfelde, K. (ed.), Bilder von Krupp: Fotografie und Geschichte im Industriezeitalter (1994). ● Kosok, L., and Rahner, S. (eds.), Industrie und Fotografie: Sammlungen in Hamburger Unternehmensarchiven(1999). ● Woronoff, D., La France industrielle: gens des ateliers et des usines 1890-1950 (2003)

Maurice Broomfield: Photographer who documented British industry from the 1950s to the 1970s Thursday, 7 October 2010

SONJA BROOMFIELD

Broomfield's photograph, left, 'British Nylon Spinners' (1971). Broomfield at work in Pakistan in 1968


Maurice Broomfield was a photographer whose work documenting the inner landscape of industrial Britain from the 1950s to the 1970s has recently been rediscovered. He succeeded through his striking photographs in revealing both the grit and beauty of the people, factories and processes which manufacture the everyday objects around us. He was born in Draycott, Derbyshire in 1916. His father was a lacemaker. After leaving school at 15, Broomfield found work as a lathe operator, producing components on the Rolls Royce assembly line. At the same time he took evening classes at Derby College of Art to learn the techniques of drawing and painting which would inform his later work. It was during a visit to Derby Museum with his father that he first saw the paintings of Joseph Wright RA. The illumination in works such as Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (1768) brought an aspect of wonder to otherwise ordinary industrial scenes and provided some of the inspiration for Broomfield's distinctive use of lighting in his photographs. As he later explained, "I love lighting, it changes everything. It creates moods; it's like a painting material." Making the transition from manufacturing to design, Broomfield created packaging and displays for the confectionery company Rowntrees, by now already including photography in his work. In the summer of 1946 the International Student Service sponsored Broomfield and his friend Stephen Peet to make a trip across Europe, recording student life on film and in photos. Peet's Student of Prague, 1946 film is an enduring record of their visit to postwar Czechoslovakia. On returning to Britain, Broomfield received a commission from ICI to photograph one of their factories. While owners would traditionally have wanted long shots, to demonstrate the size of their production spaces, he sought instead to emphasise the detail of the goods being made and the people involved in their manufacture. In a recent BBC interview he recalled: "It was very difficult to convince the owners and the directors of these companies that we should concentrate on the products that they were making... revealing the workmanship and the pride and joy of making quite wonderful products." There followed 30 years of industrial photography during which Broomfield used the factory floor as his stage, the machinery and workers playing their roles in recounting visually the stories of products and their origins. Through the use of unusual angles or lighting, the viewer would have a new appreciation of what might otherwise be a mundane subject. For example, his Testing Nylon Stockings (1957) sees the item in question stretched on an inverted "leg" at the front of the scene, with the lab technician posed behind, in a picture reminiscent of the avant-garde photographer Man Ray. Critical appreciation for his innovative and unusual work was quick to arrive. Between 1954 and 1960 Broomfield was commissioned by the Financial Times to create a weekly image for the newspaper. Then, throughout the 1950s to 1970s, he was a frequent contributor to photographic magazines and a winner of awards including Merit for Industrial Photography in the Institute of British Photographers' Exhibition (1954), Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal (1958), World Fair of International Photography (1964) and Industrial Photographer of the Year (1974). From the late '60s he was part of the advisory committee at the Harrow School of Photography.


ollowing the death of his wife Sonja in 1982, he ceased his photographic work and once again took up his first love, painting. He met his second wife, Suzy Thompson-Coon, on a painting course at West Dean and lived with her in Emsworth, West Sussex. The beginning of the new millennium saw a resurgence of interest in his work, fuelled by a thirst for information about the formerly great British manufacturing industry, which had fallen into decline since the Thatcher period. In 2000 the designer Sir Paul Smith hosted an installation of Broomfield's works at his Floral Street shop in Covent Garden. Smith commented that the photography "...captures the real heart of what was a booming but harsh time for the UK. Finding inspiration and creativity in gritty surroundings of every day work is inspiring in itself." A further retrospective, "New Look for Industry; Photographs from Post-War Britain", was held at London's Science Museum in 2007. The monograph Maurice Broomfield – Photographs was published last year, containing more than 50 images. Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, described the photos as having a "...precious status as important records that can also be enjoyed as the work of a most discerning artistic eye." Broomfield's most recent shows have been at the Silk Mill, Derby, and Chichester's Pallant House Gallery, this year. Simon Martin, the curator of "A New Look At Industry" at Pallant House, noted: "When we saw the photographs we were just drawn to their extraordinary originality. They are such strikingly modern and inventive photographs which capture a moment of British industrial history at its height." His son Nick Broomfield is a documentary film-maker, known for his cinema veritÊ style, clearly influenced by his father's photographic techniques. Of his own life and work Maurice Broomfield said: "I enjoy photographing people at work, and the many experiences whilst doing this have enriched my life. To be living on this planet, is to me, the greatest gift possible." Marcus Williamson Maurice Broomfield, photographer: born Draycott, Derbyshire 2 February 1916; Member of the British Institute of Professional Photographers 1947; Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photographers 1958; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society 1984; married 1947 Sonja Lagusova (died 1982; one son, one daughter), 1987 Suzy Thompson-Coon; died Chichester 4 October 2010.

Industrial photographer Maurice Broomfield dies


Image © Maurice Broomfield, courtesy of the Host Gallery. Maurice Broomfield, a celebrated industrial and architectural photographer, has died this week, aged 94. Author: Marcus Williamson, with Olivier Laurent 07 Oct 2010Tags:Architecture Broomfield was “one of the first industrial and architectural photographers to use his corporate commissions to make visionary photographic studies of the workers and the environments in which they worked,” writes the Host Gallery, which, last year, put on the first retrospective of the photographer’s iconic images of industrial Britain from the 1950s to the 1970s. Broomfield was born in Draycott, Derbyshire in 1916, writes Marcus Williamson in The Independent. “His father was a lacemaker. After leaving school at 15, Broomfield found work as a lathe operator, producing components on the Rolls Royce assembly line. At the same time he took evening classes at Derby College of Art to learn the techniques of drawing and painting which would inform his later work. It was during a visit to Derby Museum with his father that he first saw the paintings of Joseph Wright RA. The


illumination in works such as Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (1768) brought an aspect of wonder to otherwise ordinary industrial scenes and provided some of the inspiration for Broomfield's distinctive use of lighting in his photographs. As he later explained, ‘I love lighting, it changes everything. It creates moods; it's like a painting material’.” But it’s only in 1946 that Broomfield turned to photography. That summer, the International Student Service sponsored Broomfield and his friend Stephen Peet to make a trip across Europe, recording student life on film and in photos, writes Williamson. “On returning to Britain, Broomfield received a commission from ICI to photograph one of their factories. While owners would traditionally have wanted long shots, to demonstrate the size of their production spaces, he sought instead to emphasise the detail of the goods being made and the people involved in their manufacture.” Broomfield once told the BBC that “it was very difficult to convince the owners and the directors of these companies that we should concentrate on the products that they were making, revealing the workmanship and the pride and joy of making quite wonderful products.” Williamson adds: “There followed 30 years of industrial photography during which Broomfield used the factory floor as his stage, the machinery and workers playing their roles in recounting visually the stories of products and their origins. Through the use of unusual angles or lighting, the viewer would have a new appreciation of what might otherwise be a mundane subject.” Broomfield’s photography was an instant hit. His images appeared in the Financial Times from 1954 until 1960, and he received many awards until 1974. In 1982, after the death of his wife, he “ceased his photographic work and once again took up his first love, painting. He met his second wife, Suzy Thompson-Coon, on a painting course at West Dean and lived with her in Emsworth, West Sussex,” writes Williamson. But, his iconic images remained popular and last year were the subject of a monograph published by Foto8, with the Host gallery presenting Broomfield’s first retrospective of photographs documenting “three decades of post-war heavy industry and urban regeneration in Britain.” Visit foto8.com and Marcus Williamson’s full obituary at The Independent. To purchase Maurice Broomfield’s book, visit the foto8 store here and here (limited edition).


Image Š Maurice Broomfield, courtesy of the Host Gallery. Text by Marcus Williamson used with the authorisation of the author.


Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/1741179/industrialphotographer-maurice-broomfield-dies#ixzz11juZeXcw

The 'commemorative company photo book' occupies a prominent position in the history of postwar Dutch photography, but until recently little scholarly attention has been paid to this phenomenon. In this dissertation the meaning and importance of the genre during its hey-day, from 1945 until 1965, is described and the factors that made it possible are analysed. Company photo book is not a common term and its definition is problematic. For the purposes of this study, a company photo book is considered to be a one-off publication - usually in the form of a commemorative volume - whereby a Dutch business company commissions a special team to document or depict the company as a whole or particular aspects of it. In the most outstanding examples this team consists of an experimental writer-poet, one or more well-known photographers and a prominent graphic designer. The collaboration between photographers, graphic designers and authors, on the one hand, and patrons from the world opf business and industry on the other, forms an essential characteristic of this genre. The significance of these company photo books for the history of Dutch photography is substantial. Partly because of the genre, photographers could survive and accumulate a body of work. What is more, because the company photo books represented the most lucrative and prestigious assignments for photographers in the postwar years, the phenomenon contributed to the fact that they became trendsetting. Furthermore, the vanguard figures involved were from the humanistic tradition in documentary photography and often had leading functions in the professional organizations of photographers after the Second World War. These photographers determined the image of Dutch business and industry in the postwar period of reconstruction. Also as a part of the history of companies and in a cultural-historical respect, these photo books constitute an important source of information about the development of Dutch industry, business and social life. A facet of Dutch industrial history is literally made 'visible' in the company photo books. At the same time the genre reflects the self-image of the industrial patrons an image of working and


living communities which was often exceptionally optimistic. Various sorts of books preceded the genre (see Chapter 1). The roots of the company photo book can be found in 19th century books with gluedin original photographs, exhibition and product catalogues, company photo albums and photographically illustrated commemorative volumes. Although commissions for photo books from the business world were scarce in the interbellum period, this period is mainly crucial for the creation of the genre. It was during these years that the New Photography laid the aesthetic basis for the postwar company photo book. Important impulses came from international contacts with, among others, members of the Bauhaus and the way they used photography in avant-garde publications. The New Photographers extolled the vitality of the new industrially manufactured products for the benefit of the masses in company catalogues, brochures and special publications. What was propagated here was not so much artistry but rather a progressive, social message. From a social perspective, the New Photographers thought it was necessary to use modern techniques in order to provide information about products and that the most suitable means for this were the stylistic characteristics of the New Photography (photomontage, worms eye view, diagonal lines). This socially conscious view could later find application in company photo books. The social-documentary tradition in photography was partly responsible for the rise of the genre. The first photo books in which a burgeoning humanistic vision of man and society can be seen appeared in the last quarter of the 19th century. In the first decades of the 20th century an important group of photographers adhered to realism. They undertook extensive projects in which daily life, codes of dress and behaviour and professions were systematically examined and recorded in book form. Precedents of the postwar company photo books can be seen in both the iconographic aspects as well as the social function of such photo books as Anlitz der Zeit (August Sander, 1929) and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Walker Evans, 1941). But the matrix for the rhetorical image and the humanistic view of (working) people in the company photo book was provided by the catalogue of the famous international exhibition The Family of Man (1955). The informalisation of society after the Second World War is reflected in the genre (Chapter 2). From the time of early industrial photography up to and including the documentary-humanist tradition in the company photo book, a shift can be perceived in the visual vocabulary from 'detachment' toward 'involvement'. Detached imagery in photographs of men in hats and overalls - underlining the anonymity and uniformity on the shop floor and portraits of directors emphasising the hierarchy within the company - were replaced in the Reconstruction years by probing photographs of youth, world events and travel as representations of dynamism, speed and progress. The visual vocabulary had become more direct and at the same time the increasing use of run-off photographs was indicative of growing respect for the autonomy of the photographic image. In the course of the 1950s detachment gave way to informal directness in language use, while photography and design bore witness to social involvement with working people on the basis of varying perspective and camera angle. Certain prototypes - especially striking examples from the genre's hey-day - reveal how a contemporary and humanistic vision of the theme 'man and work' is visualised and dramatised in a visual structure, whether or not in narrative form (Chapter 3). The way in which a story is told visually is ultimately determined by the direction and nature of the designer. Four types of company photo books can be distinguished on the basis of formal and aesthetic characteristics: the visual narrative, the filmic scenario, the photo-typo-language and the visual rhyme. Oranje Nassau Mijnen (1953, Appendix 36) is a typical example of a visual narrative. This book about Limburg miners by the photographer and doctor Nico Jesse is narrative: there is a linear story (a dayin-the-life of, from raw material to final product) and a chronological structure in series of photographs. Typically of such early postwar photo books of this type, it reflects a moralistic and rhetorical portrayal of


mankind. The filmic scenario - that is to say, a sequence of photographs in the manner of a film and often based on a written scenario - is prominent in the legendary photo book vuur aan zee (1958, Appendix 63) compiled by the designer Jurriaan Schrofer for Hoogovens in Ijmuiden. The synthesis of photography and typography is pivotal in the third type, the photo-typo-language. 100 Jaar Grasso (1958, Appendix 60), compiled by Benno Wissing for an engineering works in Den Bosch, illustrates postwar experiments in this area. The commemorative book is a distinct example of high-quality printing and dynamic typography. An infrequently seen type of company photo book is that organised according to visual rhyme by means of an associative arrangement of existing visual material. A typical example is the paperback De trein hoort erbij (1964, Appendix 112) published by the Dutch railways. Its kaleidoscopic mixture of photographs, drawings and text announces the hybridisation that entered the genre in the mid-1960s. Very diverse collaborations underlay these company photo books (Chapter 4). Most of the books were produced during the Reconstruction period by teams, a notable phenomenon since in the same period various professional groups were differentiating themselves from the old all-round prewar applied artists. The new form of organisation (the Association of Practitioners of Applied Arts in the GKf Federation) and the management of artists working in applied arts were two of the factors that contributed to this professionalisation. Professional attitudes were changing, the prestige of applied artists was growing and the profession of designer and photographer was gradually becoming emancipated. From the mid-1950s certain industries showed remarkable interest in photo books about the activities of their own companies. A special team brought together by a prominent printer-publisher provided the text, image and book design. The printer-publisher also supervised production of the company photo book. Collaboration between photographer and designer in the realization of these books was remarkably constant. The breeding ground for this collaboration was the GKf. Some companies, particularly in the graphic industry, have a tradition in the area of initiating and producing prestigious printed matter. After the war, companies such as PTT, Bruynzeel and Hoogovens continued this tradition of promoting and distributing art and culture. A decisive role was played here by particular individuals, prominent figures on the Board of Managing Directors, who had a considerable affinity with expressions of contemporary art and culture and who moved in artists' circles. Progressive industrial patrons began working together with experimental writers and poets from the Vijftigers Movement in order to produce representative publications. The Vijftigers mainly became involved in the production of company photo books via GKf members belonging to unions of graphic artists and photographers. They undertook this for different reasons. One aspect was that experimental poetry was associated with the documentary nature of contemporary photography: both groups wanted to record the present in word as well as image, aiming to proclaim a correspondingly humanistic point of view. The collaboration between authors, photographers and designers on the one hand and like-minded industrial leaders on the other, reached its peak in the late 1950s and early 1960s, resulting in company photo books that can be termed avant-garde. But it is principally from a deeply-rooted sense of solidarity that left-leaning industrial patrons and like-minded artists regarded the production of books as a social act. After the culmination of the Reconstruction the genre began to decline. A more hybrid type of company photo book came into fashion, simultaneously with the rise of design and advertising bureaus. This development brought along with it a number of shifts: the printer was no longer the one who assembled the team and commissioned the artists; instead, project developers within the graphic industry began to form specialised teams. The nature of the collaboration also changed, new commissioning situations having been created through cooperation between photographers, designers, writers and industrial patrons in the realization of the company photo book. The artistic value of the company photo book levelled off in these years and the annual report ultimately replaced it.


Two occasional publications in the field of high-quality printing and book production offer particular insight into the contemporary appreciation and reception of the genre: the Christmas issue of the Drukkersweekblad and the jury report of De best verzorgde vijftig boeken. These prestige objects function as a touchstone of quality and as a mark of recognition within graphic design circles. Company photo books, however, were solely judged on their graphic merits and seldom on their photographic and literary qualities. The relatively low appreciation of photography can, like the discrepancy between the reputation of the graphic designers and the photographers, be historically explained. From the outset photographers have had to struggle in securing a place within the world of fine art. In contrast to graphic designers who had already distinguished themselves early within the applied arts movement and whose status is in part due to that of typographers, from whom they partially stem and whose status has been recognized since time immemorial. For substantial time after the war photographers continued to hold a minority position as GKf members within the graphic sector with which they were closely associated, yet from the mid-1950s there were signs of an undercurrent where the autonomy of photography was attempted. And although the company photo book declined during the 1960s and 1970s, the genre enjoys considerable appreciation today, as can be seen by the high prices such books fetch in the market. Moreover, there is growing interest from a photo-historical point of view. Company photo books were also produced after 1965, but the situation has drastically altered and perspectives on photography have changed (Chapter 6). In a time span of 40 years which saw not only the institutionalisation of photography and establishment of a commissioning policy, but also the crucial role of the government in the process of consciousness-raising among photographers and formation of the first company photo collections, the postwar company book has been gradually replaced by books prepared by autonomous artists in which contemporary business culture and the decline of certain industries are documented. Whereas the postwar company photo books were primarily public relations instruments, originating from a socialdemocratic spirit and in the best cases of an avant-garde character, the present-day versions are not at all similar. The social need for the genre is now small. For the purpose of an inventory of the genre, a database has been developed during the course of this research, and may be found in the appendix to this dissertation. The books represented in it are classified chiefly with the aim of documenting bibliographical details. The importance of such a catalogue of the genre is accentuated by the fact that company photo books are difficult to trace given they are dispersed widely across company and photo archives, private collections and libraries in the Netherlands. Mirelle Thijsen

Industrial Photography Company Photobooks  

Industrial Photography Company Photobooks

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