Photo Archival Techniques


Presbyterian Church Archives, PCC-Synod Buea, Cameroon

8 -12 April 2013


The invitation to the training course has been issued for the University of Buea, the Ministry of Communication’s Sub-Delegation in Buea, the Ministry of Communication, Yaoundé, the Société de Presse et d’Editions du Cameroun (SOPECAM), Buea, and the Archives of the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon (PCC), Buea. Eighteen persons did register; of these five were women and four staff members of the CPPA project.



The training course was officially opened by Eno Chris Oben, Regional Delegate, South West Regional Delegation, Ministry of Communication, and by Rosario Mazuela Coll, M.A., project manager of the preservation project Cameroon Photo Press Archives – Protection, Conservation, Access. The main lecturer Barbara Frey Näf, M.A., the former curator of the photographic collection of mission 21 / Basel Mission which houses important Cameroon holdings then gave an introductory presentation on Chances and Challenges of Digitisation of Cultural Heritageand onthe History of Photography.

The sample collection which contained specimen of the most important photographic processes, including a tintype, an ambrotype as well as examples of photomechanical printing processes, served as the illustrative basis for the module Images as Objects: Identification and Deterioration of Photographic Processes and Preservation of Photographic Materials. Thus the participants could study the different photographic processes and states or types of decay under magnifying glasses and pocket microscopes (30 x). Preservation issues were discussed with special reference to the hot and humid local climate, which is a huge challenge for archivists and curators.

Hereafter the subject Images as Sources of Information has been addressed and Forms and Types of Photography as well as the Critical Analysis of Images as Sources of Information were vividly discussed. The more content related considerations have shown the differences of describing and of interpreting visual content and were followed by the structured introduction into cataloguing methodology.

In the sessions on Digital Photography and Digitisation Standards and Principles the theoretical and practical focus was put on comparing resolution capacities of analogue and digital images. Furthermore the basics of digital photography, mainly the description of images and camera capacities by pixels and the functioning of different types of camera sensors and image formats were discussed. Questions on digitisation asked by the participants have been responded directly or have been integrated into the presentation of the SEPIA recommendations (Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access) and the according Data Element Sets (SEPIADES).

The final day was dedicated to the Cameroon Press Photo Archives (CPPA) Buea. Jesse Konang,Regional Sub-Delegation of the MINCOM, Buea, spoke on Public Photography: the Case of the Buea Photo Section and mainly concentrated on legal photo regulations by the state of Cameroon and on the potentials and present state of the Buea photo section. The project manager, Rosario Mazuela Coll,and her staff then lead through the workstations of the CPPA project, which was followed by the participants with great interest. The former head of the photo section of the Ministry of Communication, South West Province, Pa Emmanuel Mbwaye, spoke about the history of the CPPA and on professional ethics in a very impressive way outlining facts and impressions from 1955 until his retirement in 1987 covering the end of the colonial rule and the early history of modern Cameroon including the unification of its French and English speaking parts. Primus Azwar Forgwe, the officially retired but still active head of the National Archives, Buea Annex, gave a short insight in the history and holdings of these archives.

During the final ceremony these doyens together with Barbara Frey Näf handed over completion certificates to the participants.


Photo Galery

training-1 training-2

Barbara Frey Näf. Main lecturer

During a presentation

training-3 training-4

Some participants of the training course

Interpreting photographs

training-5 training-6

Talking about photographic processes. A display of some examples

A student examining material with a pocket magnifier

training-7 training-8

Practical exercise: Copying plan film negatives (6 x 9 cm) to a special solar photo paper

Practical exercise: Copying plan film negatives (6 x 9 cm) to a special solar photo paper

training-9 training-10

Lecture of Pa Emmanuel Mbwaye, first photographer of CPPA-B

Lecture of Primus Azwar Forgwe, retired Head of National Archives Buea

training-11 training-12

Visiting the digitizing station of the project in the premises of the Sub-Delegation of MINCOM

Visiting the digitizing station of the project in the premises of the Sub-Delegation of MINCOM

training-13 training-14

Award of diplomas

Award of diplomas

training-15 training-16

Group photo of the participants and the lecturers

Ms. Frey with some students and Mr. Forgwe