He received his first Leica, an M3, from his wife as a Christmas present in 1957, and it was only a short time later that his passion became his career: from that point on, his put aside his work as a professional tailor and dedicated himself completely to photography. Over the following years, his work as a press and theatre photographer, as well as for the Institute of Art History at the University of Salzburg, produced an enormous treasure trove of images, that appeared in countless photo books, calenders and solo publications.
Oskar Anrather’s worked is managed by his grandson, who helped organise the current exhibition at the Leica Gallery Salzburg – a rediscovery as well as a wonderful homage to the photographer who passed away last year.
Mr Anrather, what memories do you have of your grandfather?
I spent a great part of my childhood with my grandfather, so I was also very aware of all the photographic work. My grandfather was a very humble man who, in fact, spoke little about himself or his work; but I spent many hours with him in the dark room and I was allowed to look over his shoulder as he worked. It was particularly exciting to watch the pictures emerge during the development bath. After that the sitting room could hardly be used, as every last corner was covered in pictures put out to dry.
How large is your grandfather’s legacy?
The archives include around half a million black and white photos, and a similar number in colour. Nothing is digitised. Things are found thanks to an index book, where the title of the film is identified by a keyword. On the whole that works very well, as long as you’re looking for the right keyword. Still, it can’t be compared to a modern data bank system, of course.
What plans do you have for the archives?
The very positive resonance we got in advance of the exhibition shows us that people enjoy his pictures, which is why it’s very important to me to manage the archives in an active manner, and to organise a project or an exhibition from time to time. In the past, my grandfather regularly produced a Salzburg calender. Now I have managed to publish a new calender for 2018, in a limited edition of 500, which will be sold at shops in Salzburg and at the Leica Gallery Salzburg. I’m particularly happy that the exhibition opens this October, as my grandfather would have had his 85th birthday on October 8th, and it is also precisely 50 years since he was acknowledged as a “Master of the Leica”, with a large article in Leica Magazine. That report was very important for the launch of his career. Ulrich Rüter
Mein Salzburg. Mein Leben.
19.10.2017 - 13.01.2018
Leica Galerie Salzburg
Telephone: +43 (0) 662 87 52 54
Fax: +43 (0) 662 87 52 54
Opening hours: Tues – Fri, 14:00 to 18:00, Sat, 10:00 to 14:00.
The photographs in the exhibition are produced is small, limited editions and can be purchased.