Traces of light – Traces of time: Studio portraits from Switzerland and Cameroon

Photobastei, Zürich, Switzerland
09 Jan 2020 - 09 Feb 2020

Group portrait of four women: 'Frau Fiorenza'. Photographer Heinrich Lunte, Zurich, around 1910 - 1920. Courtesy of the Swiss National Museum (LM-171207.8). Right: Two friends or sisters. George photo studio, Douala, 1970s. © George photo studio.

The exhibition “Traces of light – Traces of time” shows portraits of photo studios from Switzerland and Cameroon from the 19th to the 21st century. The exhibition allows us to relive the attraction that this photographic genre – the great mystery of the person – exerts on the people of both countries to this day. At the same time, it illustrates the different development of studio photography in Switzerland and Cameroon.

The differences appear far less in the furnishings of the studio rooms or in the gestures and poses of the portrayed, which seem to have been taken largely from a global repertoire, than in their temporal shift. The first photo studios were set up in Switzerland in the 1850s, and in Cameroon around 90 years later. And while the golden era of studio photography lost its glamour here as early as the 1920s, it only really blossomed there after independence in the early 1960s.






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