The Innocent Eye - Photographs from Greifswald to Be Shown in Göttingen

Photo from the Gustaf Dalman Institute, Photo: Oliver Böhm
“At Faris’ home in Balat”, Photograph by Gustaf Dalman

The exhibition looks at important questions: How has the development of photography since 1839 changed the view of a cultural region that is so highly subject to moral values? Which cultural, touristic and commercial mechanisms evolved from this development?  The exhibition also examines what was expected from the new medium; its contribution to modern global knowledge and also its role in politics, science, archaeology and ethnography. The exhibition project’s scope ranges from Napoleon’s Egyptian Expedition up to just before the start of the First World War. Jewish photography and the “First Film of Palestine”, filmed in 1911, form the end of the exhibition.

To this day, Dalman’s collection, which came to Greifswald with him after the First World War, documents the cultural landscape of Palestine before the First World War in a way which is unique to Europe. In the last few years, work has started on the digitisation of the collection, in particular the 20,000 historical photographs, of which 6,300 artefacts can already be viewed online in the University of Greifswald’s central collection database. This work has made it possible for the Gustaf Dalman Institute to provide high-quality digital copies of its historical glass plate slides. It means that the Greifswald originals, which are both delicate and small, can now be displayed in high-quality reproductions, showing the visitors all of their informative details.

The exhibition “The Innocent Eye. Images of the Orient in Early Photography (1839-1911)” can be seen from 23rd April to the 17th September 2017 in Göttingen (Arts Collection of the University of Göttingen, Picture Gallery in the Auditorium). The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue, published by the Michael Imhof Verlag.

Coordinated by Prof. Dr. Manfred Luchterhand (Managing Director of the Department of History of Art and the Arts Collection of the University of Göttingen), and with the help of Lisa-Marie Roemer and Verena Suchy, various works will be exhibited from the 23rd April 2017. These include works from individual photographers, works from commercial studios, results from photography expeditions and presentations which were part of world exhibitions. Works showing the relationship between photography and painting are also on show. The self-depiction of Ottoman elites and the portrayal of society and religion will be on display, as well as photography in oriental studies, but also the estates of prominent oriental researchers - including a selection from the Palestine expert Gustaf Dalman (1855-1941). 


Contact at the University of Greifswald 
Dr. Karin Berkemann
Faculty of Theology
Am Rubenowplatz 2/3
17489 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 3834 420 2546