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I've read with interest the Guardian article of last Thursday on the incredible story of the photographic collections of Tate and V&A, and also your comment on British Photographic History (

As director of the Photo Library of an art historical research institute (a German institution with seat in Florence) working also theoretically on photo archives, I would like to draw your attention to the "Florence Declaration - Recommendations for the Preservation of Analogue Photo Archives" (see link below).

To the many reasons that were mentioned in the article and in the blog, why throwing away such photographic holdings is an unforgivable crime against the scientific community and the entire society, I would like to add some new research perspectives on photographs and photo archives as material objects that cannot be substituted by digital surrogates. These new studies go beyond the disciplinary borders of art history and see photographs and archives as research objects on their own.

The "Florence Declaration" aims at an integration between the analogue format and the digital format, which only can guarantee the correct conservation of the photographic heritage for future studies and at the same time the implementation of digital instruments.

Here you can find the text of the Florence Declaration (in 5 languages) and the list of subscribers:

It would be very supportive if you and other members of British Photographic History would sign the "Florence Declaration" and help us to spread it! As facts are showing, a greater and more widespread understanding of the inescapable value of analogue photographs and archives for the future of research is a primary need!

With best regards,
Costanza Caraffa

On the Florentine Photo Library, its projects and publications:

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