WestLicht Collection

WestLicht, the place for photography in Vienna, wants to form a symbiosis between equipment and photography. Both the technophile and visual aesthete should be brought together and satisfied with information and creative endeavour in the same place.

Photo museum WestLicht is home to approximately 40.000 objects of various photographic techniques, ranging from plate photographs and glass transparencies to a wide variety of printing processes. It encompasses historic and classic photography as well as works of contemporary art. On this page you will find examples of images (mostly accompanied by texts) that outline different focal points of the collection. According to the constant development of our collection we will be continuously updating the pages.

Two interests have particularly shaped this collection: one of them is an awareness of the technical preconditions of photography, such as historic cameras and viewing devices, as well as more recent technologies; the other is an approach to photographic images that focuses on their popular-cultural impacts, reflecting the politics of perception around them, beside their value as works of art and/or as historical documents.

Apart from individually acquisitioned objects the WestLicht photo collection is holding a series of partial estates and larger bodies of work (Studio Manassé / Olga Wlassics, Photo Simonis, Gustav Schikola, Udo Proksch / Roland Pleterski, Stefan Kruckenhauser, Walter Henisch). Moreover WestLicht was able to purchase valuable convolutes from international collections (for example the Japanese Pentax-Collection or most recently the Polaroid Collection).

The Picture Archive

In addition WestLicht is home to a collection of around 50,000 historically, artistically or journalistically valuable photographs. They come from every epoch in photographic history from international photographers. Alongside landscapes and city views from Europe and the Middle East, there are also pictures from India, Japan, Africa or South America. Additionally the collection has important examples of artistic photography, portraits and nude prints. The albums and portfolio works as well as numerous individual objects are being scientifically examined at present so that they will be available to the interested public in the future.

Nadar, Victor Hugo am Totenbett
Press Archive, Firefighters, around 1920
Historical Archive, Wrestlers, 19th C.

The Library

For further research OstLicht offers an extensive library of recent and older literature on many of the various aspects of photography. Here you will often find out of print works on photo techniques, photo chemicals, specialist works on cameras, guides, monographs, copiously illustrate books, works on the history of photography as well as photographic works dealing with war, sport, reporting, landscape and portraiture.

Library OstLicht