Emil Mayer was a Viennese street photographer born on October 3, 1871, in Neubydzow, Bohemia now Nový Bydžov, Czech Republic. He was lawyer, inventor, and businessperson and certainly the greatest of the European bromoilists in the 1920s and 30s.
From 1891 to 1896 Mayer studied law at the University of Vienna. In 1896 where he earned the juris doctorate. In 1894, while still a student, he converted from the Jewish community to Catholicism. After his studies he settled in Vienna, where he worked as a lawyer.
His first experience in photography was as an amateur. He was a member of several Viennese photographer associations that focused on artistic photography.
Emil Mayer was an avid photographer and a master of the complicated bromoil printing process. He is best known for his extended series of candid portraits of the various social types who populated the streets of Vienna in the early twentieth century: street merchants, soldiers, policemen, market women, waiters, coachmen, and window shoppers. Mayer’s photographs document a short-lived period of stability and prosperity in Austria’s history.
After Mayer completed his studies at the University of Vienna, he established a law practice at Salvatorgasse 10 in Vienna. His first experience in photography was as an amateur. He was also a member of several Viennese photographer associations that focused on artistic photography. His artistic photos include documentary images of Wienerstraße images.
Mayer left this the law firm he was working at and founded a photographic technology company DREM-Zentrale with Nikolaus Benedik. The company’s name was an abbreviation of DR. E. Mayer. International branches of the company included, DREM Products Corporation in New York and DREM Products Ltd. in London, England.
To escape persecution from the Nazi regime after the annexation of Austria in March 1938, he and his wife committed suicide on June 8, 1938.