Photo archive of Isolde Ohlbaum

Short biography and photo archive

Self-portrait Isolde Ohlbaum | © Isolde Ohlbaum/BSB/Image Archive
Self-portrait Isolde Ohlbaum | © Isolde Ohlbaum/BSB/Image Archive

Born in Moosburg on the river Isar in 1953, Isolde Ohlbaum attended the Bavarian State Academy for Photography (Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie) in Munich from 1970 to 1972. She has been active as a freelance photographer for publishing houses, newspapers and journals since the mid-1970s.


Most notably, Ohlbaum portraits well-known authors, artists and other persons of social life in Germany and far beyond. She accompanied numerous literature events with her camera for decades, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair or the award ceremonies of the Petrarca prize. City views as well as pictures of graveyards, sculptures, flowers and animals complement her photographic work.


The transition of the archive to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek takes place in four parts up to the end of 2025.


The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek currently preserves around 46,000 photos by Isolde Ohlbaum, including black-and-white negatives, coloured slides and prints. Moreover, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has already taken over around 23,000 already digitized photos.


The digitization and cataloguing are still in their early stages.


Searching and the purchase of licenses are possible via a dedicated image portal.

► Ohlbaum Photo Archive


Wohlfart, Katharina: Porträts von Nobelpreisträgern und Dichterinnen: das Fotoarchiv Isolde Ohlbaum in der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek. In: Bibliotheksmagazin 18 (2023), 2 p. 22-24.

Image selection