The Viennese photographer Dr. Josef Székely (1838-1901) was born in Sümeg near Lake Balaton in western Hungary and went to school in Szombathely. He then attended the University of Vienna and graduated in 1860 with a masters in pharmacy and in 1862 with a doctorate in chemistry. He taught at the university for a time, but then, opening an atelier in Heinrichshof near the Viennese Opera, he became a professional photographer, and one of substantial repute. In 1867 he won the Bronze Prize at the World’s Fair in Paris, and in 1878 he won a silver medal in Paris.
Josef Székely was a photographer in 1863 expedition of German scholar Johann Georg von Hahn (1811-1869) along the river Black Drim starting from Albania, going through Debar (where he took 2 photographs), Struga (Kalishta), Ohrid (stayed 10 days and made 11 photographs), Monastir (Bitola), Veles, Demir Kapija (Iron Gate) to Salonica on the Aegean.
These photographs from 1863 are the earliest known photographs of Macedonia. Unfortunately, publication of the photographs proved too expensive for the Viennese Academy of Sciences and they were omitted from the report Hahn published of the expedition in 1867 and 1869. The result was that the Székely collection, among the earliest photos ever taken in the southern Balkans, fell into oblivion. In 1889, thirteen of the photographs found their way into the volume Makedonien und Alt-Serbien (Macedonia and Old Serbia) by Spiridion Gopčević (1855-1936), but they were not attributed to Székely and were left undated. After that, the collection disappeared for over a century, to be rediscovered in the Austrian National Library in 2000 by Mark Cohen. The Székely Collection was first published in the album Writing in Light: Early Photography of Albania and the Southwestern Balkans, Prishtina 2007. The photographs are now archived in the Bildarchiv of the Austrian National Library in Vienna (www.bildarchiv.at)
The text and photos for this article are taken from http://www.albanianphotography.net/szekely/