Digitisation of the Kováts Napfényműterem photographic archive (Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania)

Ferenczy Lukács and Kováts István Sr. were not only photographers, but also historians and ethnographers. Their photographs depict life in Transylvania between 1880 and 1925. Stored in unsuitable environment and without an inventory, the photographs will continue to deteriorate, resulting in the loss of information around undocumented aspects of Transylvanian history and ethnography.

The first photographic studio in Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc) was founded by Ferenczy Lukács in 1876. The studio documented with passion and attention for details the life of the small rural communities, mainly of Hungarian and Székely ethnicity, around Székelyudvarhely. The collection is composed of thousands of images of vernacular architecture, social events, daily life in the country-side, as well as images from the battlefields of WWI. In its entirety, the collection creates a photographic history of a small city in Transylvania spanning over half a century.

The archive is kept in unsuitable conditions. The glass plate negatives are covered in dust and heavily affected by temperature and humidity changes, sometimes cracked or broken. Without restoration and relocation of the archive, there will be a significant loss of crucial historical material.

The project digitised 5,210 photographic items created between 1880 and 1925. The material was relocated in a more suitable environment. The staff from the Kováts Photo Museum acquired substantial practical knowledge in preservation, digitisation and archiving of the photographic material. Local historian Dr Csaba was able to expand his research in local history, and students of history, cultural tourism and arts from the Babeș-Bolyai University were trained in digitisation and metadata creation.

Project Details

Location: Romania, Eastern Europe, Europe Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Kováts Photographic Studio And Museum Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £42,700 Commencement Date: 11/2018 Project Status: Completed
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