With the rise of amateur photography, the occasions for taking photographs became less formal. This also applied to the academic field. Institute celebrations, trips and even carnival parties offer popular motifs for photo opportunities. This trend can also be witnessed in the people photographed. They appear to be a lot more relaxed, are shown having lively conversations, with cigarettes and beer bottles a frequently reoccurring motif.

Finally, more and more people come into the picture who do not represent the highest level of university hierarchy: doctoral students, institute staff, and on occasion, cleaning staff.

With the invention of photographic film and the production of handy compact cameras in the 1890’s, photography developed into a widely used medium. There was no need to go to a studio if you wanted to have your picture taken. An increasing number of people owned a camera themselves, showing personal perspectives of university life.

Whereas earlier studio photographs showed the person being portrayed as stiff and serious, the snapshot created pictorial motifs of everyday life and private scenes.

Collections of such snapshots, for instance in form of a photo album or a ring binder can also be found within the structure of the university. Preserved in institutions or university facilities, they create a community and encourage a tradition in the respective institution.

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