Virtual Museum of Photography

Virtual Museum of Photography, available at: www.fotomuzeum.faf.org.pl, is a new base of photographs and knowledge on Polish photography.
The expanded portal allows a free browse through scans from archives studied and prepared by Archeology of Photography Foundation, but also through selected photography collections from other institutions – i.a. Jewish Historical Institute, Fundacja Pola Magnetyczne (Magnetic Fields Foundation), Fundacja dla Filmu i Fotografii (Foundation for Film and Photography), and Stowarzyszenie Dokumentalistów Droga (Documentary Photographers Association ‘The Road’).

The portal first and foremost operates as an on-line base – even today it contains as many as 50 000 photographs. They involve works by artists such as Zbigniew Dłubak, Wojciech Zamecznik, and Zofia Chomętowska, but also anonymous photographers’ collections, which are taken care of by the partner institutions. They can be browsed in various ways and the search results are easy to sort: by the type of material and subject or by archives. All users looking for detailed information and particular photographs are recommended to use the advanced search option.
The Virtual Museum of Photography also contains articles – short texts authored by photography researchers, academics, journalists, writers, and curators, focusing on chosen themes. This constitutes an alternative way of getting familiar with the photos uploaded to the base. It might serve as a tool to expand one’s knowledge on photography history, theory and interpretation, too. There can be found i.a. texts on Zbigniew Dłubak’s socialist realism portraits - written by Maciej Szymanowicz, or on vernacular photography - authored by Agnieszka Pajączkowska. Urszula Zajączkowska on the other hand, basing on the photographs by i.a. Wojciech Zamecznik and Zofia Chomętowska, wrote an article on plants which appear in the post-war ruins of Warsaw.
We would like the Virtual Museum of Photography – apart from being an on-line base of collections – to be a place which encourages its users to find out about similar projects and therefore at the bottom of the website there can be found links to other Polish bases which make photography collections available on-line.

-In our foundation, we have been working on the Virtual Museum for the last two years. We went through both foreign and Polish portals, we checked what we liked about them and what we considered unnecessary ‘fireworks’. Adjusting the collections already prepared and studied by Archeology of Photography Foundation to the demands of the new base was a huge challenge for us – in the end, in some cases this was the work, we had done ten years before! But we did it! Today our base contains over 50 000 of photographs, including scans prepared many years ago as well as those very recent, prepared just last year. To us digitalization and ‘opening’ an on-line archive is one of the most important way of preserving photography heritage and that’s why the Virtual Museum of Photography is vital. We care for those who visit it to stay there for a while, to read texts uploaded to the portal, to check the links to other, similar bases of Polish photographers and institutions, but first of all, to become enthuse about the richness of photographs available on-line. I would like it to become the on-line center of knowledge and information on Polish photography – said Karolina Puchała-Rojek, the president of Archeology of Photography Foundation.

- Using the Virtual Museum of Photography is fast, convenient and intuitive. The Virtual Museum of Photography is a SPA (Single Page Application) application, designed with the use of the most modern web-technologies. The basic browsing system is based on full-text search, which takes inflection into consideration and is supported by the possibility of sorting the results. This allows us to access the photographs, we are interested in, in a less complicated way. On the object card, apart from information on a particular photo, there’re also tags – here called indexes and supported with active links that allow to display photographs ‘tagged’ the same way. Underneath each picture there also appears a list of the associated objects – the same series, the same author or taken at the same location. This enables users to browse through collections more thoroughly and discover new photographs – said Maciej Turczyniak, Technology Specialist of the Virtual Museum of Photography.

All the photographs uploaded to the Virtual Museum of Photography are free to watch and browse, however, using them for publishing purposes or showing them publicly requires relevant licenses – in order to get them, we encourage the interested institutions or individuals to contact us: fundacja@faf.org.pl.
The base is still in the phase of tests and therefore we encourage all users to share their opinions and suggestions at: fundacja@faf.org.pl

Partners: . Jewish Historical Institute, Fundacja Pola Magnetyczne (Magnetic Fields Foundation), Fundacja dla Filmu i Fotografii (Foundation for Film and Photography), and Stowarzyszenie Dokumentalistów Droga (Documentary Photographers Association ‘The Road’)
Graphic Design: Syfon Studio
Programming: Maciej Turczyniak
Concept: Maciej Turczyniak, Karolina Puchała-Rojek
and FAF team (Jan Anderman, Marta Szymańska, Marta Przybyło, Ewa Jadacka, Anna Hornik)
Promotion: Maja Sztenke, Steinke Communications

The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage within the long-term program Kultura Cyfrowa 2016 (Digital Culture 2016).