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Photo Collection Research


Admission requirements


This tutorial is about the materiality of photography. Besides the existence of photography as digital born or digitized image, there is a whole material culture in which photographs exist as tangible objects. Leiden University has a historical photography collection that is the oldest and one of the most important museological photocollections of the Netherlands. It is internationally reknown for its photohistorical richness. In this tutorial, students can obtain hands-on experience with handling and researching historical ànd contemporary original photographic prints: experience that is necessary for working as collection researcher or exhibition curator, but which can hardly be obtained in an academic education. The student learns about specific knowledge that can be found in vintage material which cannot be found in reproductions, about recognizing historical photographic techniques and about rules and customs of working with a photo collection.

Course objectives

After this course, students – know which specific knowledge can be found on original photographic prints and in vintage photography (or negative) collections (which cannot be found in reproductions); – know the meaning of some of the most important terms from working with photo collections such as ‘original’, ‘reproduction’, ‘artists’ copy’ and ‘vintage print’; – know to recognize ten of the most important photographic techniques that were used since the invention of photography in 1839; – have hands-on experience with handling original photographic materials; – know about rules and customs of working with original photographic materials and in a heritage photo collection.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website

Heinsius-room in the University Library

Maandag 2 februari 13.00-15.00 uur
Maandag 16 februari 13.00-15.00 uur
Maandag 2 maart 13.00-15.00 uur
Maandag 9 maart 13.00-15.00 uur
Maandag 16 maart 13.00-15.00 uur
Maandag 30 maart 13.00-15.00 uur
Maandag 13 april 13.00-15.00 uur
Maandag 20 april 13.00-15.00 uur

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Research

Course Load

  • 140 hours

Assessment method

Assessment and grading method (in percentages):.

  • individual assignments with presentations on different stages of research and interpretation a photographic object from the Leiden University photography collection.

  • group (2-4 persons) assignments on parts of a casus of collection research of topical interest.

  • final assignment for presentation and paper on a full museological description and interpretation of a photographic object.

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:

1) the final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average
2) the final grade for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements. These additional requirements generally relate to one or more of the subtests always be sufficient


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

Literature depends on the photographic object chosen for the final assignment and should be found by the students as part of the assignment.


Enrollement trough uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:

Contact details

Media Studies student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; “”:
Coordinator of studies: Ms S.J. de Kok, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 1.01b.