Swissair, Switzerland's former national airline, for many years was an icon of international air travel. Yet its history came to a sad ending, with the grounding of the entire fleet on October 2nd 2001, when the airline had run out of cash, leading to bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation of the company. What remains of Swissair besides the countless memories and testimonials of its extraordinary character are the company's vast photographic archives, now held at the "ETH-Bibliothek" in Zurich. One part of this legacy consists of aerial images commercially produced by "Luftbild Schweiz", a highly specialised subsidiary of the airline. The other part, the actual "Swissair Photo Archive", consists of images produced to document the airline's day-to-day operations and used for marketing purposes, staff training and also as souvenirs for employees. Some of these excellently composed images of farewells and welcomes, loading of ready-to-serve food in a snow-storm and refuelling in the heat of a summer day evoke legendary film-stills. The new book "Swissair Souvenirs" presents around 270 photographs.
Of excellent quality in every respect, the pictures also showcase the vast range of subjects covered by the collection. They are arranged by formal and thematic aspects, pairs and sequences or spreads revealing references between subject fields as well as formal contrasts. An introductory essay and concise captions compliment the images. Text in English and German.
Ruedi Weidmann, born 1966, studied social history and history of economics in Zurich and Berlin. He works as a freelance editor and publicist and is a specialist in architectural and social history, preservation of buildings and history of transportation. Michael Gasser is head of Special Collections at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich's main library (ETH-Bibliothek) Nicole Graf is head of Image Archive and Map Collection at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich's main library (ETH-Bibliothek).