They are some of the very first photographs ever taken. The exhibition "Germany in Photography in the 19th Century" in Munich's Stadtmuseum presents photos from the years shortly after the birth of the camera. This rare picture from 1862 by Joseph Albert shows artists who have dressed up for a costume ball.
The exhibition offers insights into Germany's history. Here, Johannes Franciscus Michiels' 1855 photograph documents the construction of the Cologne Cathedral. The two towers weren't completed until 1880. All the photos in the exhibition come from the collection of Dietmar Siegert, who gathered them over the course of 30 years.
Many of the photographs are so sensitive to light that they are only rarely put on display. The Munich exhibition is an exception. Around 250 photos are on show, including this 1856 picture by Leopold Ahrendts showing Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt. The square has hardly changed since then.
This Munich neighborhood was captured on film by Franz Hanfstaengl in 1855. The area has since changed dramatically. The tower in the foreground was torn down in 1870 in order to enlarge the surrounding Viktualienmarkt square. Collector Dietmar Siegert comes from Munich, and his photo collection has been published in a book that accompanies the exhibition.
The exhibition represents two socio-cultural movements that characterized 19th-century Germany. The conservative Biedermeier period went from 1815 to 1848, while the industrial age that began in the mid-19th century is known as the Wilhelminian Era. Georg Koppmann took this photo of the Hamburg harbor in 1883.
This was the site of a definitive battle in the Second Schleswig War of 1864, when the Austrian and Prussian Empires fought together against the Danish Empire. This picture taken by Charles Junod shows soldiers in an entrenchment in Dybbol in Denmark.
St. Goarshausen in central-western Germany draws tourists with its legend of Lorelei. The story goes like this: A girl sat on the cliffs lining the River Rhine and sang so beautifully that she mesmerized the passing ship captains, who then got caught up in the current. The ruins of Katz Castle, high above St. Goarshausen, can be seen in this 1852/53 photo by Charles Marville.
Stuttgart's former central train station, seen here, was photographed in 1867/68 by Friedrich Brandseph. The city quickly became a transport hub for the region, and a new station was built between 1914 and 1928. More recently, plans to replace it with an underground station have stirred hefty protests.
14 kilometers (nine miles) of the Pegnitz River run through the city of Nuremberg. It is lined by old homes, many built on stilts. The characteristic balconies and wooden roofs can still be seen along the river today. This photo was taken by Leon Gerard in 1857.
These days, they're extremely rare. But now, Munich's Stadtmuseum is showing a collection of photographs from the mid-19th century. They reveal not just early photo techniques, but also a Germany that has since been remade.