During the Weimar phase of the Bauhaus, photography was initially used as a documentation and publication medium before it was established as an artistic field of experimentation, ranging from the photogram to the photo collage, by László Moholy-Nagy in 1923. Photography only became an official subject in Dessau in 1929, when it was integrated into the advertising workshop. Photography at the Bauhaus was mainly associated with figures such as László Moholy-Nagy, Walter Peterhans, Lucia Moholy and Erich Consemüller.

From the outset, photography was used at the Bauhaus mainly to photograph objects and products in order to document the works created at the Bauhaus. The photographs taken by Lucia Moholy and Erich Consemüller are the most important of these. In addition, numerous photographs taken by the students that attest to the experimental creative approach to the medium of photography have survived. Under László Moholy-Nagy, photography was integrated in the general curriculum as an aesthetic phenomenon.

Photography only became a subject of study in Dessau in 1929, ten years after the founding of the Bauhaus. The second Bauhaus director, Hannes Meyer, employed the photographer Walter Peterhans as the head of the workshop for photography, which was initially part of the workshop for advertising.

In his basic course, Peterhans taught a sophisticated form of product photography with an emphasis on aesthetic and technical skills. Peterhans and his students primarily produced still lifes, photographs of objects and portraits, capturing the materiality, properties and surfaces of the subjects.

Herbert Bayer, Marianne Brandt, Paul Citroen, T. Lux Feininger, Florence HenriKurt Kranz and Xanti Schawinsky also made important contributions to photography at the Bauhaus.