- Archival News
• The International Center of Photography in Manhattan has acquired three cases of negatives taken by Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War. Conservation experts at the George Eastman House are inspecting the 3,500 negatives and report them to be in good condition. The material was long thought lost, after Capa fled his darkroom in Paris in 1939.
• More than 10 million photographs, taken by the reconnaissance units of the Royal Air Force from the start of the Second World War to the 1990s, known collectively as Tara, or The Aerial Reconnaissance Archive, have been acquired by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). The photographs will be digitized and made available to the public. The collection itself is stored in tens of thousands of rolls of film negative, which, when developed, become standard images, nine-by-nine inches square. The films cover the world from 1939 to 1945, from the D-Day landings in France and the destruction, or endurance, of Europe’s major cities, and the theatres of war in Africa and the Far East. The archive includes, for example, a photograph of the Amsterdam street where Anne Frank was hiding, at the time she was taken away, and a dramatic shot of a fjord in Norway showing the Bismarck six days before she was sunk.
RCAHMS already has the most extensive collection of aerial photography in Scotland, and has a department specializing in preservation and the commission of new aerial photography.
• The Human Studies Film Archives recently acquired 900 films produced by the Encyclopaedia Cinematographica, a documentary project developed by the Institut für den Wissenschaftlichen Film in Göttingen in the 1950s. The aim of the project was to produce scientifically accurate ethnographic documentation of isolated kinetic activities (“thematic units”) for comparative study. Topics ranged from food production to the creation of objects of material culture, and occasionally certain aspects of ceremony and ritual. Anthropologists who produced or served as consultants on the films were expected to have cultural expertise, participate in training provided by the Encyclopaedia Cinematographica and maintain a detailed camera log of the shots. In addition to ethnological films (including anthropology and folklore), the IWF produced films in biology (zoology, botany and microbiology) and technical sciences. As part of the Encyclopaedia Cinematographica’s strategy, film prints (called the “archives”) were sent to repositories in Austria, Japan, the Netherlands and the US for archival storage and distribution. The Human Studies Film Archives’s recent acquisition of the Encyclopaedia Cinematographica results from the recent closure of the former American distributor, [End Page 167] Penn State Audio-Visual Services. This remarkable German contribution to the development of visual anthropology is available for research use in the HSFA through the kind permission of Knowledge and Media (Wissen und Medien), as the IWF is now known. All of the films are relatively short (three to 30 minutes) and without sync sound or commentary. Cultural groups include the Senufo (Upper Volta, Africa), Mende (Sierra Leone), Songhai (Niger), Fellahin (Egypt), Taureg (Hoggar Mountains, Africa); Craho (Brazil) Waica (Venezuela), Atacameno (Puna de Atacama, Argentina), Ma’dan Arabs (Iraq), Kuttia Khond (Orissa, India), Dard (Gilgit District, Pakistan), Tadzhik (Badakhshan, Afghanistan), Polynesians (Ellice Islands, Niutao), Micronesians (Gilbert Islands, Nonuti), Miao (Tak Province, Thailand), and numerous films of European folklore subjects. Web site: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/naa/whatsnew.htm .
• Footage.net reports that UK niche archival footage house Huntley Film Archives has a representation deal to bring to the market the films of Allen Jewhurst and his company Chameleon Television. Dominant among the historical material is a collection of more than 700 cans of 16 mm rushes from Whicker’s World, a British TV series which for thirty years between 1959 and 1990, before international travel became common, brought viewers a window on the world. The Huntley offering contains material from 1969 onwards, after the series switched from the BBC to independent UK broadcaster ITV. Earlier material is held by the BBC. Whicker, described in an article in the Museum of Broadcast Communications as a “globe-trotting television commentator without equal,” was well known for his particularly...