The image collection of the Archives of Latvian Folklore consists of photographs and ethnographic drawings, showing household items, buildings and their details, farmstead property marks, ornaments of knitwork and embroidery, etc. During the first decades of ALF’s functioning drawings dominated, though the first photographic images are contributed already in 1920s.
Among the first smaller collections three particularly stand out. One of the first ethnography photographers in Latvia is the composer and musicologist Emilis Melngailis (1874–1954), his collection features a total of 46 photographs. 11 photographs are found in the collection of Kārlis Bukums (1884–1979), containing a total of 18,000 items collected in the vicinity of Valmiera. Most of those images were taken already in 1925, and these illustrate the textual material. Then Mārtiņš Bērziņš (1874–1950) from Umurga has contributed 7 images already in 1920s. As it was found out, he has been a serious ethnography photographer, having taken many more images, copies of which are now at the disposal of ALF.
Beginning with 1950 the number of photographs grew really fast. Most of the photographic prints were arranged in albums. These images have comparatively exhaustive captions, also allowing the viewers with no knowledge of the period to obtain information about the persons and places depicted. More photographs can be found in the manuscript materials included in the regular collections, with even more information on the depicted persons and objects, as these images are specifically illustrations of the text and marked as supplements of the respective folklore items – with a letter index added to the item number (like ‘a’ and so on). The photographs were taken by folklorists themselves, e.g. folk legend researcher and expedition coordinator Alma Ancelāne has been a prolific photographer as well, in the recent years the greatest number of images has been contributed by Aldis Pūtelis. Still the authors of the images found in the Archives are not folklorists alone, there are also professional photographers, who have participated in the field-work — Matiass Tamaļuns, Vaira Strautniece, Andris Eglītis and Jānis Buls. Lately the images are born digital, meaning there are no negatives and prints. With the support of UNESCO and State Culture Capital Foundation the image archive of ALF has been digitised. Most of the images both photographs and images can be viewed in the ALF database
Last time modified: 12.09.2016 13:25:42