Film stills represent both visual traces of film and their own type of photographic image. They are taken on set during filming by specially commissioned photographers in accordance with a complicated and elaborate procedure, re-staging film scenes specifically for the still camera, transforming film from a moving to a static medium. The Albertina is turning the spotlight on this hybrid genre for the first time in a comprehensive exhibition of 150 film stills taken between 1910 and the 1970s.

Conventionally (mis)understood as mere references to the film, reflecting the cinematographer’s or the director’s view, here they are explored as an autonomous photographic genre, requiring to be considered independently from the film itself. Three aspects of film stills as an intermedia phenomenon will be given particular attention: the interfaces between photography and film with their breaks and links, the function of stills as such, and these stills’ independent artistic value.

Photographers: Raymond Cauchetier, Horst von Harbou, Chris Marker, Atelier Manassé, Hans Natge, Angelo Novi, Georges Pierre, Karl Struss et al.

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