The IFP disposes of an extremely rare collection of photographs dating back to 1956 and subsequently enhanced over the years. This assorted collection (the only one of its kind), consists of about 1,50,000 black and white photographs and 5500 colour films and slides. Ranked as the richest in India, the collection focuses on South Indian religious art and iconography including temple views, stone and bronze statues, paintings, architectural motifs, pre-historic cave rock paintings, palaces, jewellery and old heritage buildings of Pondicherry. The photographs are classified into three main categories i.e according to "Sites" or their location; "Matter" or the subject matter and "Enlargement" or the enlargement of the photographs in conformity with the IFP negative number.
These photographs, gathered from various States in India (i.e Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala) depict some of the archaeologically most famous monuments in India. The objective is to preserve the photos, digitize the photo archives as well as to make the database and the digital photos available on the website for research scholars.
The photographs taken on 6x6 format black and white rolls, during field trips, depict temples situated in various locations within India. The 35mm colour slides have been used to shoot paintings and bronze statues.
The digitization of the photo archives is going on with the view to preserve the 58-year old negatives as well as to make them more readily accessible to viewers. The scanning of the negatives was undertaken with a maximum resolution aims in order to facilitate consultation of the photographs via the Net. The scanned photographs (negatives) will subsequently be integrated into the Visual Basic database in accordance with the related matter. The scanning of the negatives with the negative scanner was time consuming. After the arrival of the Director Dr.Pierre Grard a new technique of digitizing the negatives with digital camera is taken up which is going very fast.
To start with five hundred photographs have been uploaded in the site of www.ihoi.org