The Museum of Photography (Museum für Fotografie) has been a magnet for photography enthusiasts from all over the world since its opening in 2004. The Helmut Newton Foundation occupies the two lower floors in the building and has for many years presented its hugely successful permanent exhibition ‘Helmut Newton’s Private Property’, as well as individual exhibitions on Helmut Newton’s work, his wife Alice Springs, and his contemporaries, including: ‘Helmut Newton: Sex and Landscapes’, ‘Newton, Nachtwey, Lachapelle: Men, War & Peace’, ‘Pigozzi and the Paparazzi’, and ‘Helmut Newton Polaroids’.
In the Kaisersaal on the museum’s second floor, the Art Library’s Collection of Photography presents a series of rotating exhibitions that explore the medium of photography in all its protean forms. From 2004 to 2008, the Kaisersaal’s prevailing state of ruin formed a strikingly unusual venue for contemporary art and photography exhibitions. A string of photographers and artists – Raimund Kummer, M+M, Philipp Schönborn, Boris Hars-Tschachotin and Hannes Nehls, Regina Schmeken, Reiner Leist, Raymond Depardon and Simone Mangos – designed spectacular installations specifically for the room that had been severely damaged in the Second World War. Their exhibitions always tested the very limits of photography, its relation to other media such as sculpture and film, as well as its relation to religion and history.
The hall’s renovation, which lasted until 2010, means it is now suitable to host exhibitions of all kinds of photography ranging from the 19th to the 21st century. A diverse exhibition programme is presented here, which on the one hand draws from the rich photographic collections held at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin while simultaneously featuring outstanding photographers and outlining important themes in the history of photography. The exhibitions are accompanied by a varied programme of guides, lectures, and symposia on current research topics.