Cimelia Photographica

Costanza Caraffa, Ute Dercks, Almut Goldhahn

Cimelia Photographica is the term used in the Photothek for photographs dating from before or around 1900, which possess a historical intrinsic value. These photographs are treated as singular objects with their own materiality and a biography.

The project programmatically weaves together research activity and archival practice. Photographs from the Gustav Ludwig Bequest, the Croquison Donation and the KHI’s own campaigns become the starting point for model individual studies. This combined form of object and archival research starts from the high-resolution scanning of photographs complete with their card mount, whereby not only the photographs but also the traces of their archiving history are digitized. With the Cimelia Photographica project in mind, the Photothek’s acquisitions increasingly also include individual photographs and convolutes from the period before and around 1900. In collaboration with the Florence-based Fotonomia association, every year the Photothek also organizes in-house practical seminars on recognizing historical photographic techniques.

As a principle, the same approach is also adopted towards photographs dating from after 1900 which, for historical or material reasons, become objects of research in their own right.

Costanza Caraffa: Cimelia Photographica. Zum Umgang mit historischen Fotografien im Archiv
In: Rundbrief Fotografie 74, 2012, pp. 8–13

Further information


Gustav Ludwig: The photographic bequest

A research project of the Photothek of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz


The Photo Campaigns by the Kunsthistorisches Institut between 1897 and 1932

A research project of the Photothek of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz


Peripheral holdings: the Croquison Donation

A research project of the Photothek of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz


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