Corbis Opens Sygma Facility

Posted on 5/20/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Sygma Preservation and Access Facility opened in France last Friday, after more than five years of work by its owner Corbis. Built by management company Locarchives, the facility houses 50 million negatives, printes, transparencies and contact prints.

The preservation initiative began in 2004. A team of Corbis archivists has worked on reorganizing the collection and reclassifying images by photographer rather than theme. Corbis has also worked to negotiate agreements with more than 10,000 photographers who have contributed to the Sygma collection and still own the images.

Locarhives built the facility with guidance from photo-preservation expert Henry Wilhelm, who examined the Sygma collection in 2006. The facility is located in Garnay, less than an hour’s travel from Paris. The 8,600-square-foot space is temperature and humidity-controlled, with advanced fire safety and security protections.

Such measures are necessary to halt gradual color fading and deterioration of irreplaceable photographic originals. “If the collection had remained in the uncontrolled, room-temperature conditions where it had been kept for so many years, it would have perished before the end of this century,” said Wilhelm. He added that the new Corbis facility will preserve the Sygma legacy for more than a thousand years into the future.

In addition to preserving the originals, Corbis has worked with Sygma photographers to digitize the most significant images from the Sygma collection. Over 800,000 of these are currently available online.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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