Digital Archive Photographic Exploration, Public & Private

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For this project, there are two exploratory aspects, delving into the archive, public & private.

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1. For part one, choose an archive with accessible photographic content to investigate (most easiest is one that has digital collections that are searchable, but you are also welcome to go to an actual archive — e.g. a local historical society) — there are numerous examples in our modules. In fact, most major cultural & governmental institutions now have some type of digital collection/archive, with many photographic collections therein.

One archive/database that is particularly intriguing, in our WEEK 1 Module, is the Photogrammar site ( (Links to an external site.)), which has 180,000 photographs taken by photographers working for government programs during the New Deal (ca. 1937-1943), searchable in a variety of ways.

However, you are welcome to explore any digital archive you’d like, including Temple’s Urban Archive; I’ll paste a page

Select at least a dozen images from the archive you are exploring, and present these as a type of exhibition/curation. Include a brief description of the archive, your interest in it, and the logic behind your curation (what themes, content, or formal aspects are you presenting). You can present this as a pdf/word document with the pdfs embedded; or, as a text write up, with the images posted as separate jpegs (if the latter, please indicate the sequence order of your image selections).

As a supplement to your archival curation, I encourage you to consider including your own pictures, either within the sequence or parallel to it, that forms a dialogue with the archival images you selected. You are welcome to use images from the private archive section below, of course, or alternative images.

Again, include a brief written description discussing the relationship of your own images with those from the archive.

2. The second part is an investigation into a private/familial archive. This could be family albums, personal social media streams/platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook the most likely?), home movies (using still frames). If you can, present at least a dozen images (or several pages from a scrapbook), and include brief thoughts, descriptions and commentary on these artifacts.

Finally, compare the materials of these public & private archives…what commonalities may exist? Do patterns emerge shared by both? Or is there a clear divide between the image databases you’ve chosen to explore? And consider the formal aspects of the images…how do these compare? What are the evident formal aspects, or does these not seems so apparent, in both the public & private archives you’ve sampled? Finally, how do you relate to the archives you’ve investigated? How do the photographic resonate with you?

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