Expansion of the Image Archive. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek acquires the photo archive of Karsten de Riese

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has acquired the photo archive of Karsten de Riese, which includes around 390,000 images. With this important document of analogue photography in Germany in the second half of the 20th century, the library further expands its already extensive Image Archive, which is the largest of its kind held by any public-sector institution in Germany.

The archive of Karsten de Riese is composed of around 300,000 negatives, 85,000 slides and 15,000 high-quality prints. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek will preserve this unique archive in its entirety in the long term and make it accessible progressively, as permitted by its staff capacities.

Born in Eisenach in 1942, Karsten de Riese studied photography in Munich and visual communication at the Ulm School of Design. He worked for numerous newspapers and journals as a freelance photographer. In the course of over 50 years of activity, an extensive, varied oeuvre was created, which documents the appearance of Germany since the 1970s. In addition to long-term reports on the inner-German border and on the German Bundestag, for example, his portraits of important persons of artistic and public life, images on the Neue Musik, as well as numerous industry reports merit special mention. The latter are important documents of German industrial culture and have to be considered as historical documents already today. He does not produce studio photographs, but moves among the people with his camera. He displays everyday life; rather the process of creation than the finished product.

"I like for my images to mirror my subjective perceptions", said Karsten de Riese. "I don’t mean to judge by doing this, but I would like to encourage people to look closely."

Karsten de Riese was the official photographer of the organisation committee of the Olympic Summer Games in Munich 1972. He captured the construction process and the appearance of the Olympic site and its buildings like hardly anybody else. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek will show a selection of these photographs next year on the occasion of its exhibition "Olympia ‘72 in images".

Press release for download
Press release  (PDF, 117 KB)

Photographic material
Copyright/All rights: BSB/Image Archive/Karsten de Riese

Contact persons

Dr. Cornelia Jahn
Department of Maps and Images
Phone  +49 89 28638-2287

Peter Schnitzlein
Press and Public Relations
Phone  +49 89 28638-2429


About the Image Archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
The Image Archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek comprises almost 18 million images of a predominantly documentary character and with a contemporary historical emphasis. It is the largest image archive held by any public-sector institution in Germany. The main stock is constituted by the photo archive of the journal STERN including around 15 million images, which was taken over in 2019. The holdings will be digitized successively in the course of the coming years.

About the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Founded in 1558 by Duke Albrecht V, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is an international research library of world renown. With around 34,5 million media units, it is the largest universal library in Germany and forms part of the most important heritage institutions of the world. With more than 2.7 million digitized works, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the largest digital data stock of all German libraries. The library offers a broad variety of services in the field of innovative digital use scenarios.

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Ludwigstrasse 16, 80539 Munich