Women in Photography: Historica collections Tirol – Südtirol/Alto Adige – Trentino

Elfriede Kneußl, 1903 (Photographer: Anton Kneußl; Sammlung Kneußl – TAP)
Elfriede Kneußl, 1903 (Photographer: Anton Kneußl; Sammlung Kneußl – TAP)

An Exhibition in five towns of the Interreg project „Lichtbild/Argento vivo“


Lienz Spitalskirche

Bruneck/Brunico Stadtmuseum/Museo civico

Bozen/Bolzano Stadtmuseum/Museo Civico

Innsbruck Zeughaus

Trento Palazzo Roccabruna (24.05.–27.07.2019)


The exhibition displays treasures from numerous photographic archives in Tyrol, Alto Adige and Trentino, which have started a rare collaboration aimed at promoting historical photography as a mirror of technical and cultural changes and a substantial part of the cultural heritage.

Upon crossing the archives’ threshold, photographs change destiny. Removed from being indistinctly lost amongst the crowded reality of things, they become the object of specific actions of sorting, cataloguing, conservation and – if necessary – restoration. These operations add new meaning to the photographic asset, highlighting its social and scientific value of visual source. That is why the archive has been chosen as the symbol of curatorial perspective, with precise references to the materiality of the collections and to archival practices.

The general theme is connected to ongoing research on the construction of female identities and the presence of women in the history of photography, between the second half of the 19th century and the period between the two World Wars, when the territories of historic Tyrol – split between Italy and Austria – were heading towards alternate destinies. For women, they were years of change and achievements, but also of delays, persistence and involution, interpreted via a range of differing focuses throughout the five locations concerned: Course of Life (Lienz), Work (Brunico), Atelier (Bolzano), Women photographers (Innsbruck) and Lifestyles (Trento).