The greatest added value and the heart of the whole centre is its photography archive, located under the exhibition gallery. The modern archival system in an air-conditioned area under constant temperature and humidity is the place where printed photographs from all CZECH PRESS PHOTO contest years are stored. Today, these photographs are an invaluable witness to life over the past two decades, and without this site they would soon become damaged through inappropriate conditions. The archive can hold over 100 000 printed photographs and can become home to a large number of other photographic works which would otherwise be lost forever for future generations.
The archive will not just be used for storing printed photographs. Technology for their gradual digitisation and a clear archiving system will allow for the creation of diverse exhibition units.
The archive will be open for further acquisitions focused on contemporary production. These will be approved by a committee made up of leading photography experts. The presence of this archive will bring the whole Centre to a nationwide level with opportunities for co-operation with similar institutions abroad (archives, museums).
The new Centre archive aims to systematically archive and thus preserve for the future not just the winning and other selected works from the CZECH PRESS PHOTO contests and exhibitions, but also the most distinctive works of contemporary authors. This marks it out from current institutional collections focused almost exclusively on previous generations of photographers. In future, the centre is considering implementing a data store, which would be invaluable for contemporary photographers.
Exhibitions which can be arranged using the photographs stored in the archive will be available for exhibit by the CZECH PRESS CENTRE and other institutions. Already, CPP has the following complete exhibitions available: The Best of Czech Press Photo, CZECH PRESS PHOTO photographs of the year, and solo exhibitions from major worldwide photographers – Czech Press Photo contest panel members (e.g. Ron Haviv, Ami Vitale, Heidi Levine).