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The laboratory digitizes analogue photographic documents from the Agency’s collections as well as those in National Museums and partner institutions.

In addition to digitization, the laboratory processes and adds finishing touches to the images.


The digital laboratory works with the large range of image formats and photographic techniques developed since the invention of the first photographic process. The digitized collection is large and diverse: positive and negative images, different media and formats (metal, glass, paper, plastic, etc.) and categories, both black and white and colour images.

The digitization methods are also differentiated and adapted to the requirements of each photographic processes.

A3 format flatbed scanners using linear CCD sensors and fluid mounting for ultra-high resolution, virtual drum non-contact scanners for photographic reproduction based on soft Ektachrome slide film, and black and white negatives are just a few of these solutions we adopt.

Thus, the digital laboratory has developed process cameras, based on 80 MP digital camera backs attached to the back of a camera and apochromatic digital lenses (based on a technology of light synchronized with an LED source of 5000K with no IR or UV emission and a colour rendering index [CRI] of 98). These highly specialized chains can process and reproduce even the most damaged of documents.

Spectrocolorimetry :

Colour only exists when there is a combination of three elements: a light source, an object and an observer. The International Commission on Illumination has defined the standards that allow colours to be described objectively.

Two instruments are used to characterize the colour of an object: a colorimeter and a spectrocolorimeter. A colorimeter is a system made up of a series of coloured filters, which simulate the normalized curves of a standard observer. The measurement is not 100% precise and does not allow users to detect differences that are invisible for some illuminants but visible for others (metameric colours).

This is why the Digital Laboratory uses spectrocolorimeters, which include a dispersive component (prism), making it possible to measure the light reflected by the object in a far more precise manner, for the entire range of visible wavelengths.

This tool enables colours to be sampled and thus for comparisons to be made between the theoretical colorimetric values of the original works of art and the values captured and recorded by the digital backs.

These objective measurement methods thus make it possible to guarantee the faithful colorimetric values of the reproductions carried out by the agency.

Printing :

Since the advent of digital photography, the Photo Agency has made it a priority to master all the different digital printing techniques. The objective is to validate the printability of our files in the context of printing projects and to provide technical support to users of the digital files produced.

In order to deal with this diversity, the laboratory is equipped with different printing systems. 11-colour printers (up to 44 inches wide) with pigment inks, as well as black and white digital printers using monochromatic carbon-based inks.