The bpk photo collection of German contemporary history contains pictures from a large variety of photographers.
In the time of the German empire the photo studio E. Bieber had a high reputation. For the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) we want to emphasise on the press photographer Erich Salomon and on Friedrich Seidenstücker.
The period of 1933-1945 with the totalitarian regime of the National Socialists in Germany and World War II is widely documented by pictures of the photographers Erich Andres, Josef Donderer, Arthur Grimm, Joe Heydecker, Hanns Hubmann, Bernd Lohse, Gerd Mingram, Hilmar Pabel, Abraham Pisarek and Benno Wundshammer.
Some of these photographers took pictures as well in the postwar Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Later years of FRG were impressively documented by Ingrid von Kruse, Will McBride, Willi Moegle, Kurt Rohwedder, Felicitas Timpe, Abisag Tüllmann, Charles Wilp and Günter Zint.
Life in the communist ruled German Democratic Republic (GDR) is shown on pictures of the photographers Herbert Hensky, Bernd Heyden, Max Ittenbach, Gerhard Kiesling, Jochen Moll, Alfred Paszkowiak, Horst E. Schulze and Manfred Uhlenhut.
Photo Collection Fine Arts and Culture
Photographies of works of fine arts and culture from many famous museums of the world create the second main focus of the bpk collection.
A substantial picture collection was built up with photographies from artworks and artefacts of the National Museums in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), the Berlin State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) and the other institutions of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz). All institutions of the foundation are represented exclusively in cases of picture requests from commercial picture users.
Solely in digital form bpk offers a large number of pictures from artworks of Hamburger Kunsthalle (distribution rights worldwide) and from the museums of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux in Paris (Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Centre Pompidou, etc. - distribution rights for the German language market). Since 2005 bpk represents in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well the Italian picture agency Scala Archives, which contributes various important pictures from famous Italian museums.
Further cooperations with art museums and foreign partners are in preparation.
Digitalisation and Customer Orientation
The bpk has two tasks: it is an agency on the picture market and an archive of cultural history.
The numerous users from the media, the scientific world and the advertising industry associate with the agency the values of high quality, unique collections and competent service by qualified staff members.
For the people at bpk the tasks of indexing, maintenance and preservation of the valuable photo stock are as well a cultural obligation. Photographies are regarded as a substantial cultural heritage and the visual memory of our time. The bpk is an important place of preservation of this heritage, because bpk acquires collections of the photographic work and estates of photographers und preserves them for the public.
The users of picture archives expect today comfortable online access to the stock.Therefore bpk currently enlarges the online available photo stock in a comprehensive digitalisation project. In a few years all relevant motifs will be scanned and indexed with all necessary keywords, so that the users of this website may research and recall them.
The bpk extends its picture collection by co-operations with selected partners in Germany and abroad. The positive result for bpk clients is a choice of additional premium stock.
At the same time bpk offers to many museum partners, who prefer not to build up an own infrastructure of digital distribution, an attractive plattform to present their collections to a braod international customer base.
By now bpk has established important marketing partnerships. Besides the Berlin State Museums it represents exclusively worldwide the Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg Art Hall) in cases of commercial picture requests. Further on bpk represents for Germany, Austria and Switzerland the photo agency of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux in Paris (Musée du Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Musée Picasso and many more)
and as well the Italian fine arts agency Scala Archives, which contributes pictures from famous Italian museums (Uffizi Gallery, Borghese Gallery and Vatican Museums, etc.). In the United States bpk has marketing partnerships with Art Resource in New York and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, in Japan with AMF in Tokyo. Further partnerships in Great Britain, Eastern Europe and South America are in preparation.
bpk is a central service institution of Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) in Berlin.
The picture agency was established in 1966 (formerly named Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz).
The basic photographic stock was built up by the historical picture library Hermann Handke. This stock consists of about 1 million pictures, among them Daguerrotypes, Talbotypes, paper prints, negatives, printed works, engravings and lithographs.
Today the picture agency owns about 12 million pictures and by this one of the mayor photographic collections in Europe.The archive houses estates, archives and portfolios of many famous photographers, who notably documented life in Germany in various facets.
For a large section of these photographies the agency holds the exclusive copyright, so that publication rights for these photographies may only be obtained by bpk.
With more than 12 million images from all areas of fine art, culture and history, bpk is your partner for licensing reproduction rights for editorial and commercial use.
In this database you will find already more than 300.000 selected motifs online. Each month we add new pictures for your choice. If you wish personal consulting or support by our research service please contact us.