Collection Photo - Photographic archives

Identity area

Reference code

FR PUNES AG 12-Photo


Photographic archives


  • 1945- (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

All quantities are approximations:

  • 140,000 black-and-white photographic prints and negatives (in a variety of formats)
  • 1,000 colour 35mm negatives
  • 15,000 duplicate colour slides
  • 29,000 35mm colour slides

Context area


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The bulk of UNESCO's historic photo collection was transferred from the Division of Public Information to the UNESCO Archives in 2015. The transfer included the Office of Public Information Photo Library negatives, prints and slides in three Kardex filing machines; the portraits collection; and photographic prints kept in a separate depot.

Other photographic materials preserved in the UNESCO Archives were transferred from the Office of Public Information beginning from the 1970s (OPI/Photo.1 and OPI/Photo.2 series).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The photographic archives span the period from the foundation of UNESCO until 2000 and contain photographic material of UNESCO programmes, activities, and events (conferences, meetings, Director General visits). In addition, the photo archives consist of images used for exhibitions or publications of UNESCO (e.g. the UNESCO Human Rights Exhibition prints and negatives found in the series MC).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Continuous accruals

System of arrangement

Chronologically and by subject

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

A significant portion of the UNESCO photographic archives is currently available online for public consultation until end of October, 2021, on a temporary website created for the Digitizing Our Shared UNESCO History project.

Undigitized photographs are inventoried at only a basic level (see below under Finding Aids) and may be accessed upon request by contacting:

Conditions governing reproduction

UNESCO photographs are the exclusive or non-exclusive property of UNESCO or of third parties and copyright holders. Prior written permission is required to reproduce photographs in print or electronic format in low or high resolutions. Such permissions are granted on a one-time non-exclusive basis and may be renewed. No rights granted to the requestor may be assigned, loaned or transferred to any third party.

Should you wish to obtain licensing permission to reproduce UNESCO photographs, please contact: and, indicating the Reference Code and the intended use of the photograph. Third party permission forms are not accepted.

Credit must be given by mentioning the following obligatory copyright notice adjacent to each item: © UNESCO/[Photographer]. Collection of UNESCO Archives.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

AG 12/3: Register of Negatives, 1945-

AG 12/3: Register of Diapositives/Slides

AG 12/3: Transfer lists for OPI/PHOTO.1 - UNESCO events and activities - prints (1944-1996)

AG 12/3: Transfer lists for OPI/PHOTO.2 - UNESCO General Conferences - negatives (1958-1980)

Generated finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Draft created by Julia Pohle, September 2009. Revised/updated by Eng Sengsavang, September 2020.




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places

physical storage

  • Filing cabinet: Kardex - Prints