Swissair Aerial Photographs

Swissair Aerial Photographs

The Swissair Aerial Photography Archive

Bird's-eye views of Switzerland: Unique aerial photography from Swissair's archives.



Title Information

Ruedi Weidmann. Edited by Michael Gasser and Nicole Graf

1st edition

, 2014

Text English and German


208 pages, 54 color and 96 b/w illustrations

20 x 26 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-429-6

Pictorial Worlds: Photographs from the Image Archive, ETH-Bibliothek. Vol. 4


Aerial photography held a special place in the business of legendary airline Swissair. Before founder Walter Mittleholzer entered the field of civil aviation, he trained as a photographer, and the airline had a subsidiary photo company, Swissair Photo AG, which continues today as BSF Swissphoto even though the airline ceased operations in 2001. The company has taken upwards of 100,000 pictures of landscapes, towns, and villages, along with industrial plants and individual buildings in Switzerland and around the globe.

Swissair Aerial Photographs reproduces these beautiful, striking, and informative photographs. These images reveal the changes in landscapes and towns over nearly a century, documenting the growth of city infrastructures and urban sprawl as this idyllic agricultural country has evolved into one of the most densely inhabited places in the world. The photos are also an inventory of untamed rivers, orchards, receding glaciers and moors, shrinking agricultural areas, and vanished historical buildings. With an introductory essay that explores the contents of the collection now held at ETH-Bibliothek and what can be read from these images today, Swissair Aerial Photographs provides an illuminating look at the history of aerial photography in Switzerland.


Also available in the series Pictorial Worlds: Photographs from the Image Archive, ETH-Bibliothek:

The World in Pocket-size Format

Swissair Souvenirs

Science in Sight

Photo Mosaic Switzerland

Walter Mittelholzer Revisited

Authors & Editors

Michael Gasser

 is head of the archives at ETH-Bibliothek in Zürich.

Nicole Graf

 is head of the Image Archive, ETH-Bibliothek in Zürich.

Ruedi Weidmann

, born 1966, is a historian and lives and works as a freelance publicist in Zürich. Cultural history and in particular history of industry and transportation in Switzerland are his particular interest.