PRODIG is a mixed research team in geography, which federative theme centers on the relation between development and the environment. Besides, this Joint Research Center has experience and know-how in geographic information dissemination. A project of digitalization and valuation of iconographic collections is in progress.  This initiative has been undertaken with the support of the TGIR Huma-Num and takes shape as a collection recorded in MediHal. The photo library stores photographs collections made out of glass plates and slides. These collections, which have been made available for educational and university purposes, are composed of gifts or donations from French geographers and are illustrative of their research fields.

                                      

     Amassed at the suggestion of Emmanuel de Martonne, the collection of glass plates is composed of 11 080 snaps taken on the greater part by geographers of the University of Paris between 1898 and 1954. It covers the whole world and is sorted out by continents, countries, regions and sub-regions, according to administrative boundaries used at a certain time. It is approximately made out of : 2 056 plates on France, 3 016 on the rest of Europe, 2 249 on Africa, 1 981 on the Americas, 1 242 on Asia, 285 on the USSR, 98 on Australia, 30 on the Arctic ,36 on Antarctica and 16 on Oceania. E. de Martonne, Ch. de Robequain and J. Dresch are the most represented authors.

For some plates, the accompanying text of the shooting on the label of the original plate is finely handwritten and presents a detailed description of the site ; in this case, a search for the precise geo-localization has been undertaken. But sometimes, the key gives little information and presents only a name, without any other indication ; in that case, the geo-localization centers on the country, even on its capital city. Besides, the date of the photography is rarely mentioned, it thus corresponds to the period between 1891 and 1955, but the computing constraints do not allow to note two dates ; that is why so many glass plates match the year 1891 or 1898.

                                      

     The collection of slides contains 33 019 snaps taken between the beginning and the end of the use of glass plates, between the 1960’s and the 1990’s. One half was given by the lecturers and researchers affiliated to the Institute of Geography, the other originating from thematic collections published by editors.

This collection covers the whole world and largely resumes the classification developed for glass plates. It is approximately composed of 12 225 slides on France, 5 625 on the rest of Europe, 4 558 on Africa, 4 752 on the Americas, 3 643 on Asia, 1 009 on the USSR, 716 on Oceania, 431 on the Arctic and 37 on Antarctica. Only the part of the collection of slides produced by the geographers will be gradually scanned and published online. It comprises photos of authors, students, lecturers or researchers that were taken during field missions in France or abroad, then selected with the photo librarian for their educational interest and minutely documented : actually, the collection was used by the lecturers to illustrate their courses. The snaps thus represent phenomena usually studied in physical or human geography, at least their spatial and visible expression. They often include detailed keys, are precisely located and nearly always dated, so they establish invaluable testimonies on certain parts of the world sometimes not photographed (islands, high mountains, polar regions), sometimes evolutionary (metropolises, deltas), or on the French regions, covering the second half of the XXth century. The whole collection is disparate : it can be either made out of one or two isolated photos representing a place or a phenomenon, or of a set including several dozens of images representing a city, a region at a given time. So, among these series stored in the photographic library, we can quote as an example : Belgium, the Netherlands and Scotland in the 1960s, (92 snaps), Turkey in 1978 (103 snaps), Oran in 1960 (22 snaps), Rangoon between 1980 and 1987 (42 snaps), Nepal between 1974 and 1977 (415 snaps), Victoria Island in 1986 (112 snaps), Togo in 1985 (15 snaps).

 

 Contact at PRODIG : UMR8586.images.prodig@cnrs.fr