Project to preserve 80 years of photographic archives

Source: FSSPX News

L’Osservatore Romano has decided to implement a project to preserve its legacy of photographic archives.  The operation involves almost 7 million negatives from the 1930’s to the present and represented five years of work at a cost of more than two million Euros. 

Father Giuseppe Colombara, director of the photographic service of the Vatican daily newspaper, emphasized that “In a world of images, preserving a legacy of such important photos is essential.”  The work of digitizing the photographs, which span seven pontificates, from Pius XI to Benedict XVI, will be done inside the Vatican for security reasons and so as to guarantee satisfactorily the preservation of the negatives. 

Three stocks make up the historical photographic legacy of L’Osservatore Romano:  the Giordani collection—named after the Italian photographer Francesco Giordani who served the Vatican for almost fifty years, from Pius XI to Paul VI—the John Paul II collection and the Benedict XVI collection.  The Giordani collection consists of more than 500,000 negatives, almost exclusively in black-and-white.  The John Paul II collection consists of six million negatives captured on silver-emulsion film, 80% of which are in color.  The Benedict XVI collection, from July 2006 on, consists of digital photographs which are stored on CD, DVD or magnetic tape.

In 1901 Giuseppe Felici, an Italian who had founded his own studio in 1863, obtained from Leo XIII the privileged title of “pontifical photographer” almost thirty years before the creation of the Vatican photographic service.  Today there are no fewer than four photographers who work full-time for the photographic service of L’Osservatore Romano;  two of them follow more specifically the daily activities of Benedict XVI.  (Sources : vatican.va/Apic/Imedia – DICI no. 230 dated February 19, 2011)