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  Soviet space photo archives inaccessible

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Author Topic:   Soviet space photo archives inaccessible
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-11-2006 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Visual history of Soviet Union remains largely inaccessible
By Brian Bonner
Knight Ridder Newspapers
quote:
MOSCOW - Photographers for the old Soviet TASS news agency labored under censors and government demands that their work promote official ideology. But they also enjoyed prestige and privileged access as they chronicled seven decades of the remarkable and the mundane.

Now directors of the successor ITAR-TASS agency lament that much of the vast archive of more than 1 million photos sits in wooden filing cabinets in the agency's dilapidated headquarters, with no plans and no money to digitize the collection or ensure its preservation.

The one-of-a-kind collection includes the once famous, such as first man in space Yuri Gagarin...

The creations are archaically catalogued: Photos and captions are attached to 5-by-7-inch poster-board cards and crammed into wooden filing cabinets that fill several rooms of the agency's first floor, where the windows are covered with iron grates.

In fire-prone Russia, the aging four-story building, where people still smoke, has no sprinkler system. Protecting the photos from fire would mean relying on a few handheld fire extinguishers...

Chinese counterparts at the official Xinhua Agency hired a team of 150 people to get its collection online in a few years - more people than are currently employed by ITAR-TASS' entire photo division. Currently, there are only five people in the archiving department. Aside from special requests, that's enough to add only 30 historical photographs to the online stock daily...

Since 2000, new photos go into the online archive at www.tassphoto.com and are available for purchase.


Read the full article here.

Chris Dubbs
Member

Posts: 143
From: Edinboro, PA USA
Registered: Nov 2004

posted 05-11-2006 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Dubbs   Click Here to Email Chris Dubbs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It makes me weep. As one who has labored to find Soviet era space photos for various book projects, I can certainly attest to the difficulty of accessing available archives. The thought of not having access, or worse, possibly losing some of these items, is unthinkable.

I would like to join an effort to do something about it. Can we have an exchange of ideas on this posting?

kyra
Member

Posts: 507
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 05-16-2006 08:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seems a very true article. The online space collection was maybe only 150-200 photos last time I checked. The search engine was terrible and fussy. On the positive side, there were some unique photos I had never seen. We can only hope the archivists have chosen some of the unique and rare photos for online access.

The key to all this is money, as it often is. Perhaps the article will catch the eye of a philanthropist with a love for history that will make a major like 100K to several million dollar grant to hire more people, create environmental/sprinkler system, and digitize ,computerize the catalog, and importantly, market the collection, and streamline the buying of hi res digital images.

spacekid2
Member

Posts: 182
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 05-16-2006 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacekid2   Click Here to Email spacekid2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert,
After reading your initial message I went to the TASS web page and tried to view the catalog of photos. I was required to register which I did and this is the reply I received.

["Please note that the application form you have submitted does not provide immediate access to the site. All applications are reviewed by an administrator before being accepted. Once you are granted access to www.tassphoto.com, you will be informed immediately."]

It seems the cold war is not over:]
Paul

tigga
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posted 05-19-2006 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tigga   Click Here to Email tigga     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
if anyone wants some russian images, drop me a line. I have easily a thousand plus, but haven't gotten them in a photo library yet, or indeed identified them all. Depending on usage, there may be a fee or credit to the owner.

Alex

spacekid2
Member

Posts: 182
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 05-20-2006 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacekid2   Click Here to Email spacekid2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alex,
I e-mailed you about some Photos I am looking for. Let me know what you think.
Paul

tigga
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posted 05-27-2006 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tigga   Click Here to Email tigga     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi All
Thanks for all those who have emailed me asking about photos. The collection is electronic, scanned from originals and NOT well organised or well labelled or in a database. I'm also a very busy person, so I can really only help if you have very specific things that you are interested in. For those that have let me know specifically what you are after and why (eg a picture of XYZ because I have an artifact of his), then as I am traveling on a plane long haul soon, I will use that opportunity to trawl through the images, pretty much one by one, and see what I can find. Your timescale for hearing back from me would be around mid June.

So if there's anyone else that wanted something specific, send me an email and I can be looking out for a number of things while I scan through.

Thanks for your patience!

Alex

spaceuk
Member

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 05-30-2006 06:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few years back I acquired some 10x8 b&w photos taken by one of the official Novosti photographers who worked at Baikonur.

Most are the "classic views" of Soyuz vehicles being towed to the launch pad or on the launch pad.

But there are a couple showing Gagarin (with other cosmonauts ?) showering Tereshkova with flowers at the launch pad - taken some weeks or months (?) after her flight - which I'd not seen before.

Phill
spaceuk

Chris Dubbs
Member

Posts: 143
From: Edinboro, PA USA
Registered: Nov 2004

posted 05-30-2006 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Dubbs   Click Here to Email Chris Dubbs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phil,
Do any of those photos include the dogs? Gagarin and a few of the other cosmonauts were on hand for the launch of the dog Zvezdochka, March 25, 1961. I'd love to get a photo of Gagarin with the dog, if such a thing exists.

quote:
Originally posted by spaceuk:
A few years back I acquired some 10x8 b&w photos taken by one of the official Novosti photographers who worked at Baikonur.

Most are the "classic views" of Soyuz vehicles being towed to the launch pad or on the launch pad.

But there are a couple showing Gagarin (with other cosmonauts ?) showering Tereshkova with flowers at the launch pad - taken some weeks or months (?) after her flight - which I'd not seen before.

Phill
spaceuk


spaceman
Member

Posts: 922
From: Walsall, West Midlands, UK
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 11-09-2006 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Phill,
referring to a post ages ago regarding Russian space images, do you still have any? do you have them electronically?, will you part with some even for scanning or purchase please, many thanks,
Nick
Spaceman
Walsall.

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