the method of documental interpretation of the sociologist karl mannheim offers appropriate analysing tools to introduce visual data to sociological investigations. because mannheim had elaborated his methods based on the methodological progress of art historians. in the first part of this paper the central characteristics of this method will be presented. in the second part the author differences between two ways of application of this method in the way how to use visual data. on the one hand pictures could be objects of analysis of the method of documental interpretation, on the other hand they could also serve to make a documental analysis of the society.