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2 minutes to read Posted on Monday May 22, 2017

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Europeana Photography unlocks a vast archive of historical photography

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by Sofie Taes and Valentina Bachi from PHOTOCONSORTIUM, the International Consortium for Photographic Heritage

Europeana Photography is now launching as the outcome of a collaboration between Europeana and PHOTOCONSORTIUM, the International Consortium for Photographic Heritage. Giving access to a vast archive of historical images, it’s a treasure trove of carefully selected pictures from the first 100 years of photography. The latest thematic collection on the Europeana platform, Europeana Photography presents high-quality images and compelling stories from Europe’s most astonishing historical picture collections. Just be warned: once you’ve stepped into our time capsule, you’ll never want to leave!

Foto Lux, Ajuntament De Girona, CC BY-NC-ND

Connecting people with their past

Europeana Photography allows people to connect with their past, with fellow citizens, to explore distant eras and locations, and better appreciate the value of their continental, national and local cultural heritage. Images tell invaluable and complex stories: what everyday life was like for European citizens throughout history, what past times and places might have looked and felt like, what it meant to be born in glamorous Paris during the Belle Époque or to be a family on the run during World War I.

A curated experience

Showcasing some of the works available through Europeana Photography is a new exhibition series. ‘The Pleasure of Plenty’ is all about opulence, with stunning vintage photographs that can be explored in minute detail. More exhibitions telling fascinating stories through vintage photography, but also focusing on the characteristics of the medium of photography will follow regularly. Themes and materials have been selected to interest everyone, from those with a passing interest, to the photography specialist.

Onuškio gyventojai degustuoja "Kalnapilio" alų. XX a. 4 deš. | Rokiškis Area Museum, public domain

Reaching out to professionals and the general public

Europeana Photography uses exhibitions, themed galleries, blog posts and to guide people through the finest gems of European photographic history. Aimed at both the general public and professional users, this online showcase enhances visibility of Europeana’s photographic collections and encourages people to use them for their own projects, as 22% of the content is openly licensed. Educators may rejoice too, as improved search tools make Europeana Photography an unmissable resource, allowing the discovery of breathtaking collections that have previously stayed under the radar. What will you discover? Let us know by tweeting @EuropeanaEU

Europeana Photography launched on May 20th and the launch event took place at the Museo della Grafica in Pisa on European Museums Night, and pictures of the event are available here.