Digitizing the Color Archive

A Marc Riboud image found within a slide sheet marked with the theme, ‘Silhouettes’ © Marc Riboud/Magnum Photos

In its ongoing mission to uncover and make public its vast archives, Magnum Paris has begun digitizing its thousands of color slides, with the help of the European Commission and a consortium of partners. Anna Sansom conducted an interview with Ana Isabel Cruz Yábar, Magnum’s head Heritage and Archives in September and leader of the project.

Nearly a decade after Magnum created a digital archive of its vast repository of black-and-white prints, the agency has begun a similar process with its color holdings.

Magnum first undertook this mammoth task as an act of discovery — to find out what gems might lie within the dozens of boxes and filing cabinets in its offices in London, New York and Paris. Then, once logged and processed, the photographs could be accessed, researched and promoted via the agency’s culture and licensing divisions, making visible what had lain hidden for decades in many instances.

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