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Press view of Switzerland A mosaic of post-war life

“Photo Mosaic Switzerland” is a mirror of social change which tells in fragments the history of Switzerland. The book comprises images from the archives of the now defunct Zurich press photo agency Comet. 

The first skyscrapers, building a motorway, young people in the 1970s, Yugoslav salad pickers, the first computer – around 200 photos from the second half of the 20th century were chosen by the renowned Swiss historian Georg Kreis from some 900,000 press photographs and 10,000 aerial images. They bear witness to changing places, landscapes and everyday life in Switzerland. 

This pictorial treasure trove comes from Comet Photo AG, founded in 1952. The “Comets”, as the press photographers called themselves, rapidly developed a reputation for high-quality photographs which were used by high-circulation newspapers and magazines. 

The mid-1980s saw the beginning of the company’s slow decline, ending in bankruptcy in 1999. Like other agencies, Comet failed to adapt to digital. Its legacy, however, remains and can now be found in the picture archives of the library of the federal technology institute ETHZ. 

(Images: Federal Technology Institute ETHZ library picture archives/Comet Photo AG, Text: Gaby Ochsenbein, swissinfo.ch)

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