conde nast archives

Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face; the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited; and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.
—  Edward Steichen, whose work is on view in Edward Steichen in the 1920s and 1930s: A Recent Acquisition through February 23.

Last week while in New York, I was lucky to get a private tour the Conde Nast Archive from Shawn Waldron the head of the archive. I couldn’t believe I was standing in rooms housing not only Vogue’s history but countless other publications. The work of all of those photographers, models, designers and editors, all in one place was a bit overwhelming. This is an amazing state of the art facility with all of the latest technology, it made this archivist a little jealous. What was most impressive was the cold storage room, climate controlled with 1000s and 1000s of the slides and negatives. The Conde Nast Archive is one of the largest fashion photography archives in the world, the dedication to persevering their history is outstanding. According to Mr. Waldron “The archive was known as the Morgue - that’s a standard publishing term. Mr. Nast himself over saw the creation in the 1920s. Digitization started in the mid 1990’s; it was a pilot program with Kodak.” Shawn has been with Conde Nast since 2003 and became the director of the archive in 2006. I asked him what the goals or challenges were for the archive. “The biggest challenge is remaining relevant in a rapidly changing publishing and media environment.”

It is a truly amazing place