Coinciding with the increasingly all-encompassing age of digitalization is the growth of a consequent interest in the original analogue formats of photographic material, even though it was originally produced and collected for purely academic purposes. From this, an academically and historically oriented branch of research quickly emerged that is independent from photography as an art form. Recent studies have recognized that above all the value of historical photographs dating before 1900 goes well beyond their documentary intention, thus raising their status from mere tools to objects of historical inquiry.
With the project "Cimelia Photographica", the systematic study of the Photo library's considerable holdings of historical graphic material has become a central focus of its activities. Such activities include the high-resolution digitalization of the Photo library's card-mounted photos along with all relevant data. Therefore, not only are the photographs themselves entered into the digital archive, but also the historical traces accumulated through their archival history. A first selection of these photos dating between 1850-1900 is currently being exhibited online.
Costanza Caraffa, "Cimelia Photographica. Zum Umgang mit historischen Fotografien im Archiv", in: Rundbrief Fotografie 74, 2012, S. 8-13