A book of vintage photographs of German cities and festivals taken between 1840 and 1890 has just been published in Germany. They give an intriguing glimpse of the clash between tradition and modernity in Germany at the outset of the industrial age.
"From Biedermeier to Gründerzeit: Germany in Early Photographs 1840 - 1890," accompanies a major exhibition of the photographs opened in Munich's city museum in November.
The photos were collected by Munich collector Dietmar Siegert over more than four decades.
"Photos never seen before in such volume or in book form are being shown in a voyage into the early age of photography in Germany that reveals itself to have been veritably photo-obsessed," the publisher, Schirmer/Mosel Verlag, wrote in a statement.
The book shows landscapes and cityscapes ranging from the North Sea island of Helgoland to the picturesque Lake Königsee in the Bavarian Alps, from the Alsace city of Strasbourg in today's France to the Baltic port of Gdansk in what is now Poland.
The images convey the lost beauty of many German cities whose centers were razed by aerial bombing in World War II. They also convey the rich regional diversity of a nation that was made up of many kingdoms, duchies and principalities and didn't unify until 1871.
Some pictures, such as that of a carnival procession in Mainz and the back view of the Brandenburg Gate, could have been taken yesterday. Other street scenes have an almost medieval feel to them.
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