New Digital Archive Features Over 2 Million Photos from the First 100 Years of Photography

Europeana Photography History 100 Years Photo Archive Old Photos

‘Lilie' by Wilhelm Weimar (1898 – 1903)

In the age of the Internet, the digitization of historical materials has proven to play a crucial role in the preservation and proliferation of cultural heritage. In addition to major museums and large-scale libraries, archives around the world have adopted this practice. This phenomenon has been made particularly apparent by Europeana Collections, an online platform that has digitized over 53 million “artworks, artifacts, books, videos and sounds from across Europe.” For its most recent project, Europeana Photography, the website has reproduced photographs from the first 100 years of photography and shared them with the public—all for free.

Europeana Photography features over 2.2 million historical photographs with origins that span 50 European institutions sprawled across 34 different countries. As they were taken over the course of 100 years, the photographs that compose the collection present a wide range in style, quality, and subject matter (though, much like contemporary photography, landscapes, portraits, and still-life depictions seem to dominate). In addition to presenting photography's evolving sensibilities, Europeana Photography also showcases the work of prolific photographers, including “important pioneers like Julia Margaret Cameron, Eadweard Muybridge and Louis Daguerre” through curated galleries and museum-inspired online exhibitions.

Created in collaboration with the non-profit PHOTOCONSORTIUM, Europeana Photography is a project with its eye on many goals. Ultimately, however, the predominant aim of the new digital archive is to cultivate a culturally-united continent. Both Europeana Collections and PHOTOCONSORTIUM believe this can be achieved by inviting users to “connect with their past, with fellow European citizens, explore remote eras and locations, and better appreciate the value of their continental, national and local cultural heritage.”

You can find the digital archive here.

Europeana Photography, a new photo archive presented by Europeana Collections, presents over 2 million old photos that document the first 100 years of photography history.

Europeana Photography History 100 Years Photo Archive Old Photos

‘Animal Locomotion' by Eadweard Muybridge (1887)

Europeana Photography History 100 Years Photo Archive Old Photos

‘Loya: Valley of the Yosemite (The Sentinel)' by Eadweard Muybridge (1867 – 1872)

Europeana Photography History 100 Years Photo Archive Old Photos

‘The Rosebud Garden of Girls' by Julia Margaret Cameron (1868)

Europeana Photography History 100 Years Photo Archive Old Photos

‘Grand Canal, Venice' by Nicola Perscheid (1929)

Europeana Photography History 100 Years Photo Archive Old Photos

‘Die Operettendiva Fritzi Massary' by Nicola Perscheid (1914)

Europeana Collections: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
h/t: [Open Culture]

All images via Europeana Photography.

Related Articles:

You Can Now Use 375,000 Images from the Met Museum for Free

Eastman Museum Puts Over 250,000 Photos From Its Iconic Collection Online

The Very First Color Photographs of the United States

16 Famous First Photographs in History: From the Oldest Photo Ever to the World’s First Instagram

Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content