Ilaria Abbiento, Correnti gravitazionali, 2016. Archivio PhotoMed

A department for the knowledge of the Italian photographic heritage

The Census

CAMERA coordinates the Census of photographic collections in Italy, a project born from the necessity of gather all the institutions that preserve photography in Italy under a single access point. Census’ purpose is to converge on the platform institutions, associations and foundations that hold archives or photographic collections and build with them detailed material on the material, accompanied by photographs and useful links. The Census of photographic collections in Italy is a project of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and of the ICCD – Central Institute for Catalog and Documentation, supported by CAMERA, DGAAP – Directorate-General for Art and Architecture and Urban Suburbs, Regione Piemonte and CRT Foundation.
CAMERA actively promotes the project with conferences throughout Italy (Lazio, Piemonte, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Basilicata, Campania and Lombardia) and spread it through the website, Facebook (Censimento Raccolte Fotografiche Italia) and Instagram (censimentoraccoltefotografiche).

Piergiorgio Branzi, Pasqua a Tricarico, 1954. Archivio PhotoMed

The project

Despite its rich photographic heritage, Italy is not ready to make it completely available for consultation yet.
A website allows to overcome different problems: from the lack of physical spaces where materials can be gathered, to the different legal forms (ownership, public and private possession), to the different treatment that every archive is submitted to (inventory, cataloging, digitization).
Moreover, an online survey allows the continuous and progressive updating avoiding data obsolescence.
Last but not least, it is always important to remember that the census of the patrimony is a fundamental instrument to enhance it.

Lisetta Carmi, Interno della casa di un travestito, 1968. Archivio PhotoMed

The portal

The Census is set up as a “network of networks”: to support it, single citizens, authorities and foundations promote the project encouraging the participation of their members and those involved in their activities on the territory. The list of networks currently includes Rete Fotografia (Milan), the Regional Network of photo libraries and photographic archives (Friuli Venezia Giulia), Photo libraries and photographic archives’ network in Campania.

The Census was born in the spirit of Open data, sharing and re-using: the published alphanumeric data is released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
The license to use the images is selected by each entity in the caption associated with every image published on the Census.

Gateano Baviera, Fano, ante 1909. Biblioteca Civica Federiciana


In order to reach and involve as many realities as possible, CAMERA and ICCD organize presentations all around Italy.

These are some of the places we have been so far:

2017: Turin, June 22nd, San Vito al Tagliamento, October 19th, Milan, October 27th.

2018: Venice, January 23, Potenza April 14, Dalmine, April 18.

2019: Biella, March 21, Naples, April 10, Fano, April 13, Rome, April 16.

To organize presentations in your territory you can email us on