Book look: the royal explorer

The name of Franz Ferdinand is, of course, mostly linked with his assassination. He has become a household name in Europe thanks to Franz Ferdinandthe unfortunate events in Sarajevo in 1914. The killing was a handy occurrence for generals in Austria and Germany to kick off World War One by attacking Serbia and Russia.

However, the Graz-born monarch was, in his lifetime, well known for being a keen traveller and hunter. Now an Austrian publishing house presents his travel diaries. In 1892 and 1893, Franz Ferdinand travelled around the world to discover faraway places like Japan, Australia and India. During his trip, the monarch took extensive notes while Eduard Hodek took pictures. Around 50 of his photographs are featured in the recently released edition of Franz Ferdinand’s logbook.

Frank Gerbert did extensive research to filter the essence of the 1,100-page notes. His comments help to understand the era and the way wealthy people used to travel back then. “Die Eingeborenen machten keinen besonders günstigen Eindruck” tells from many odd encounters between the Austro-Hungarian archduke. Franz Ferdinand – who allegedly shot almost 275,000 deer in his life – writes about suffering from malaria, hunting wild animals – and getting a tattoo.

Die Eingeborenen machten keinen besonders günstigen Eindruck
By Franz Ferdinand von Österreich-Este / Frank Gerbert
Published by Kremayr & Scheriau (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: the Habsburg / Prussia feud and a world history accelerator

Around 200 years of political and rivalry are analysed in a new book by a renowned historian. Ulrich Schlie, who lectured in Paris and Erfurt, investigates the different stages schliein the relationship between the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and Prussia. Schlie, 49, portrays the countries’ leaders – from Maria Theresia to Frederick the Great, Kurt Schuschnigg and Adolf Hitler – and takes a look at the role of Austria and Germany today. While Prussia’s actions are described as dynamic by the expert, the tactics of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy over the decades are branded “lethargic”. A special focus is set on the defeat of Austria and Germany in the First World War, a conflict which started 100 years ago.

Das Duell. Der Kampf zwischen Habsburg und Preussen um Deutschland
By Ulrich Schlie
Published by Propyläen (

With statements by famous personalities from John Maynard Keynes, Marilyn Monroe, and Ronald Reagan to the Beatles (“Yeah yeah yeah”) as the only apparent structural element, this und nun zum wetternew publication might have reinvented contemporary history journalism. Two editors of 11 Freunde, a German football magazine, cooperated with a freelance writer to create a new kind of book about the past 100 years. in short texts, the important occurrences of the last few decades are retold. Their whole project feels more like a too long text message or a live broadcast than a serious history book. Nevertheless, providing information and entertainment is possible, as “Und nun zum Wetter” proves. Helge Schneider, the legendary German comedian admits regretting that it was not him who wrote this book.

Und nun zum Wetter. 100 Jahre Weltgeschichte im Zeitraffer
By Dirk Gieselmann, Fabian Jonas and Lucas Vogelsang
Published by rororo (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

The photo phenomenon returns

The prestigious World Press Photo exhibit is back in press

The best photographs taken by agency and newspaper photographers during last year are now on display at Westlicht gallery in Vienna-Neubau ( Once more, the exhibit covers a wide spectrum of topics – from domestic violence to environmental pollution, sports and the violent conflicts in the Middle East.

The variety of subjects makes World Press Photo a reliable indicator of the state of the planet and society – and a massive cultural attraction in the Austrian capital. Expect huge crowds, especially at weekends!

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Cuts like a knife

Intimate portraits of celebrities taken by a rock star are now on display in a city in southern Austria.1

The Stadtgalerie Klagenfurt ( currently presents “Exposed”, a series of impressive photographs taken by Bryan Adams. The singer ((Everything I Do) I Do It For You) asked actors and musicians over the past years for permission to portray them.

Not only fellow rock legends like Mick Jagger met with Adams for sessions. Some of Hollywood’s biggest names – Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman – happily agreed when being approached by the Canadian singer / photographer. Adams even attended the opening of the exhibit of around large-scale photos in the city centre of Klagenfurt. Previously, the well-composed exhibition was on display in France, Canada, Germany and Vienna’s Ostlicht gallery.

Apart from Adams’ brilliant “Exposed” series, his controversial portraits of British war veterans called “Wounded” is on display in the capital of Carinthia too. “Wounded” has been met with mixed reactions as Adams decided not to disguise or even hide the soldiers’ losses of limbs in any way. The veterans, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, present themselves as personalities full of optimism, self-consciousness and determination – despite their severe injuries and potentially traumatic experiences.

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

You can’t change me, Nazar warns

Nazar has vowed to stay true to himself.nazar

The Austrian rapper – who released his sixth studio album “Camouflage” last month – told Biber magazine: “I’m sick of being labelled.”

Nazar argued he did not want to be photographed in front of graffiti or a shabby housing estate in Vienna-Favoriten where he had grown up. Asked whether being signed by a major label would change his artistic direction or personal attitude towards the business, the hip-hop star – who was born in Iran and came to Austria at the age of three – said: “I told them that trying to turn me into some Schlager singer means trouble.”

“Camouflage” entered the Austrian album chart on number one. However, the 30-year-old’s latest release succeeded in Germany and Switzerland as well. “Everything has changed. Now I’m busy doing interviews. Some years ago, Austrian media ignored my music. This country can consider itself lucky I didn’t move to Germany.”

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Blow-Up and Bitter

“Blow-Up” is the title of an immensely influential film created by Michelangelo Antonioni in the 1960s. It was also the name of a remarkable exhibition at Albertina blow-upgallery in Vienna on the stylistic aspects of photography, filmmaking and fashion in that era. The exhibit catalogue published by Hatje Cantz offers everyone who missed the chance to visit the museum when “Blow-Up” was on display to catch up with this exciting exhibit about extraordinary times. “Blow-Up. Antonionis Filmklassiker und die Fotografie” does not just analyse the photographic techniques of the cult movie starring David Hemmings. It also provides information about the social developments in the years before and after the film was made, with articles by Anna Hanreich, Astrid Mahler, Walter Moser and others. A special focus is on the United Kingdom in this regard, with photos taken at street protests against the British nuclear programme. A photo documentary about life in London’s impoverished East End adds some more real life to the glitzy world of fashion photography which is prominently featured in the book. Photos from the set of the Beatles film “A Hard Day’s Night” and images by legendary artists like David Bailey and Arthur Evans make “Blow-Up. Antonionis Filmklassiker und die Fotografie” – which includes a forward by Albertina director Klaus Albrecht Schröder – a special experience and a journey back in time.

Blow-Up. Antonionis Filmklassiker und die Fotografie
By Walter Moser and Klaus Albrecht Schröder
Published by Hatje Cantz (

Cycling legends, famous footballers and extraordinary fans are usually the subjects of books released by Verlag Die Werkstatt, a publishing house based in Göttingen. Now the company bitterpresents a book by Jürgen Bitter which tells from great tragedies in sports. In more than 40 chapters, the former Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung sports editor looks back on fatal plane crashes, horrible car racing accidents and the disasters of Heysel and Hillsborough. The death of Ayrton Senna – who was a close friend of Austrian Gerhard Berger – is a central element of the book. In another chapter, “Als die Sonne vom Himmel fiel” pays tribute to skiing ace Ulrike Maier who died in 1994. The author not only recounts what happened but also portrays the affected athletes, supporters, friends and relatives. Furthermore, the experienced sports journalist tries to find out which effects the occurrences had on the different competitions and society overall.

Als die Sonne vom Himmel fiel
By Jürgen Bitter
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas