The photo archives

Ina’s photo archives, estimated at some 1.2 million photos, the earliest of which date from the 1950s, take us behind the scenes of the production of radio and television programmes. The archives contain some 35,000 reports, which are currently being digitised.

Production photos: sets, shoots and personalities

Ina’s photo collections complement the radio and television archives by documenting audiovisual production day by day. They are also, and above all, an exceptional testimony to the first television programmes, which could not be recorded or archived before the advent of the kinescope in the early 1950s.

Most of these photo shoots were commissioned by the channels’ press departments, to enable them to communicate on radio and television activities. They consist of photos of shoots or recordings (the work of the technical teams, authors, directors, actors, and decors). They include numerous portraits of famous faces (in entertainment, the arts, the sciences, politics and sports), and particularly television and radio personalities (managers, journalists, presenters, cameramen and women and producers). 

Photos of equipment

Reports on broadcasters’ technical infrastructures show us how equipment has evolved since the origins of radio and television. Moreover, many reports are devoted to events organised by ORTF, then by Ina and SFP.

These reports come from the photo departments of the radio and television press services of the time in the premises of RTFORTFSFP and then Ina.

  • From the 1950s, a department at Cognacq-Jay housed production archives (1950-1959), and new archives (1961-1974).
  • At  Buttes Chaumont there was a photo department as of 1959 stocking production archives (1959-1967) and television archives TV (1967-1991).
  • In 1962, a photo department was set up in the Research Service at Issy-les-Moulineaux, a southern Paris suburb, which then moved to the Bourdan centre.
  • In 1963, the Ministry of Information photo department on Avenue Friedland was transferred to the Maison de la Radio: radio and SP (production) collections.
  • And a photo department was set up at Ina’s main premises at Bry-sur-Marne in 1975 housing the Ina collections.

Today, Ina’s Photo Studio alone continues to feed the Photothèque archives.

Preservation and enhancement of the photo archive

The digital preservation plan for Ina’s photos archives was launched in 2000, and to date some 20,000 reports have been digitised, i.e. 500,000 photos in JPEG format.

To enhance the value of the archives, Ina joins forces with institutional and private partners during major events such as the Cannes Film Festival or La Fête de l'Humanité. These partnerships enable Ina to exhibit the photos in appropriate contexts and venues. In 2012, Ina showed its photos on the Barrière Casino fronton and advertising boards on the Croisette during the Cannes Festival.  

Since 2015, 16 000 photos can also be consulted on the AFP and Getty Images websites.

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