Archaeology: Past Meets Present
École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jerusalem (EBAF)
Dominican friars
photographic library
Father Antonin Jaussen

The École biblique et archéologique française (EBAF) in Jerusalem possesses an abundant collection of several thousand photographs, glass plates of different sizes, glass slides for educational projections, and paper photo prints. This has been enriched with images from other communities and/or collectors in Palestine who entrusted documents to the school for digitization and processing, which were then returned. The owners granted EBAF rights to use the images and receive the digital version. Some original images have been donated to EBAF and are carefully conserved according to Photographic Activity Test standards. Over fifteen years ago, the author began to discover the plentiful collection of glass plate negatives, ranging from small formats up to 20 cm x 30 cm negatives, nineteenth century prints, to glass slides. The subjects are diverse, including images of religious communities and their schools, the friars’ journeys through the Near East, and archaeological and even ethnographic research. Working on these photographic collections, the author imagines myself as if with them in the field, spending long hours with the workers who were doing the laborious work of digging, clearing, and searching. In text and photo montage, Serge Nègre shines a light on the anonymous workers responsible for the hard work on the digs.

Author biography: 

Serge Nègre is a French photographer and founder of the Photographic Museum Arthur Batut. He is involved in research of nineteenth-century photography in Palestine at the photographic collections of EBAF, using photographs to compose what he calls chrono-photo-fusion. When working as a nurse, he photographed Romani people in France over a thirty-year period. He also participated in polar expeditions for ten years with Dr. Jean-Louis Etienne.