We are the DDB: The Gerda Schimpf Photographic Archive

The Gerda Schimpf Photographic Archive maintains and manages the photographic and biographical estate of the Berlin photographer Gerda Schimpf (1913-2014).

Portrait of the artist Eva Schwimmer (1901-1986) (mid to late 1940s), Gerda Schimpf Photographic Archive (CC BY 4.0 International)

Gerda Schimpf ran a photographic studio in Berlin-Charlottenburg from 1946 onwards. She photographed many prominent artists, scientists and politicians of that time, including, among others, the senior mayor of West Berlin, Louise Schroeder. Gerda Schimpf took on many commissions for Berlin fashion companies, other Berlin firms and businesses as well as trade-fair appearances.

From 1963 onwards, she became a lecturer for photography at the Berlin Lette-Verein (Lette Association) and gave up her studio.

Portrait of an artist in the studio - Prof. Bernhard Heiliger (1915-1995) (1950s), Gerda Schimpf Photographic Archive (CC BY 4.0 International)

In 2015, the photographic archive was founded in Berlin by Christine Kahlau and Irja Krätke, with support from the heir, Angelika Schuller. By doing this, the extensive estate of the photographer was preserved, indexed and made accessible to an interested public.

In 2017, the archive showed a small exhibition of the photographer’s works in the Villa Oppenheim in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

In 2020, the archive received funding from the Berlin Senate for the digitisation of part of the holdings of the approximately 10,000 negatives still in existence. The images can be seen on the museum digital platform, Berlin.

Since April 2019, the photographic archive has been housed on the premises of the Bezirksmuseum (district museum) in Berlin-Pankow.


You can find further objects from the Gerda Schimpf Photographic Archive in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library) here.