CONF Mar 18, 2023

Co-operative Processes in Relation to Early Photography (Graz, 20-22 Apr 23)

University of Graz, Apr 20–22, 2023

Mona Schubert

Pictorial techne and Co-operative Processes in Relation to Early Photography

Interdisciplinary Workshop as part of the FWF project "Co-operative Art Techniques", University of Graz, sub-project of the DFG-research group "Dimensions of techne in the Fine Arts – Manifestations / Systems / Narratives", April 20-22, 2023.


The notion of “co-operative processes” refers to two different aspects of image genesis in the mid-19th century period, which in many cases overlapped and were interconnected in a broad spectrum of techniques and media practices. On the one hand, imaging procedures were based on an experimental combination of various traditional and novel methods. Nature printing, photograms, cliché verre or dessin fumée are just a few examples of this hybrid interweaving of pictorial techne. The complex operations required for their execution were achieved either through the close collaboration of different specialists, or by specific individuals whose work orchestrated a variety of techniques and skills. On the other hand, “co-operative processes” can be understood as those techniques in which also non-human factors contribute to the creation of imagery, such as the contact marks of organic material in nature printing, chemical reactions caused by light, imprints of apparative systems or the traces of soot. These forces and their effects are initiated deliberately and manipulated technically, but at the same time they are in a certain sense "not man-made", can never completely intentionally directed and controlled.
The fascinating variety of co-operative processes, some of which have almost disappeared today, coincides with the advent of photographic images, whose role as a "modern medium" with a great future was by no means evident from the outset. Highlighting photographic processes in the title of the workshop does not aim at placing them once again as the vanishing point of a teleological history of media and the arts. Rather, in the sense of an archaeology of art and media practices, they have the role of a 'guiding fossil' that evolved in direct relation to a whole series of other image techniques and media practices of 19th century visual culture. Overlapping points include, for example, a new appreciation of individual craftsmanship alongside the revival of traditional art forms vs. increasingly mechanised production processes and a progressive mass media use of images in the context of capitalist value creation and consumption.
The focus of the workshop is not primarily on photography itself, but this expanded field of pictorial techne, in which photographic processes became established from the mid-19th century onwards and which continued to have an impact into the 1920s and 1930s. The systematic and methodological basis of “co-operation” will serve as an entry point to an in-depth discussion on the aspects presented. Over the course of three days, international experts from academic and cultural fields will present their research and projects.


THURSDAY, April 20, 2023
Camera Austria
Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz

17:00 Get-Together & Exhibition Tour (please register in advance)
Lucie Stahl. Transit Interior

18:00 Keynote
Herta Wolf (University of Cologne)
Rede und Gegenrede als Motor der Prozessualität von W. H. F. Talbots (druck)fotografischen Verfahren

FRIDAY, April 21, 2023
University of Graz, Resowi-Zentrum, Room: SR 15.4D
Universitätsstraße 15, 8010 Graz

9:30 Special Collections Visit (please register in advance)
University of Graz, Main Library, Foyer
Universitätsplatz 3a, 8010 Graz

11:00 Naomi Hume (Seattle University)
“Simplicity” in Early Accounts of Nature Printing and Photography

11:45 Ann Garascia (California State University, San Bernardino)
Salt, Water: the Stratigraphic Archives of Cecilia Glaisher’s The British Ferns—Photographed from Nature (1855)

12:30 Lunch Break

14:00 Katharina Steidl (Austrian Academy of Sciences & Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna)
Fac-simile! Das Fotogramm als Kopie, Simulacrum oder autopoietisches Artefactum

14:45 Ariane Varela Braga (French Academy, Rome & University of Zurich)
Photographing the Invisible. Microscopic Visualization as Inspiration for 19th century Industrial Arts

15:30 Coffee Break

15:45 Franziska Kunze (Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich)
„We have never yet seen a perfect picture” – Zur Debattenkultur über das Fehlerhafte in fotografischen Zeitungen und Magazinen

16:30 Carina Dauven (University of Bochum)
Zusammenarbeit, Entgegenarbeit und die Illusion von Kontrolle: Die Ko-Operation Porträtaufnahme zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts

SATURDAY, April 22, 2023
University of Graz, Resowi-Zentrum, Room: SR 15.4D
Universitätsstraße 15, 8010 Graz

10:00 Hanna Schneck (Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna)
Raus mit den Bildern! Josef Löwys Freilichtfotografien der Gemälde Alter Meister (1888-1891)

10:45 Ulrike Matzer (University of Zurich)
Zur Affinität von tableaux vivants, Theater und Fotografie

11:30 Coffee & Snack Break

12:15 Anna Artaker (Artist, Vienna)
Die Geburt der Fotografie aus dem Geiste der Botanik – Naturselbstdruck und die Anfänge der Fotografie

13:00 Omar W. Nasim (University of Regensburg)
The Agency of Photography's Materials in Astrophotography

13:45 Jan von Brevern (Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar)
Die kapriziöse Sonne. Lichtforschung und Fotografie im 19. Jahrhundert

14:30 Final Remarks

For further information please contact: Robert Felfe (robert.felfe(a) and Mona Schubert (mona.schubert(a)

CONF: Co-operative Processes in Relation to Early Photography (Graz, 20-22 Apr 23). In:, Mar 18, 2023 (accessed Mar 31, 2023), <>.