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The RAI photographic library is unique. Consisting of over 75,000 historic prints, negatives, lantern-slides, drawings, paintings and other images, the earliest of which date from the 1860s, it provides a scholarly service to a large number of academic researchers, students and responsible commercial users.

It contributes strongly to public awareness of the RAI, and provides a practical interface between the Institute and a wide range of audiences and disciplines. The anthropology of visual culture is becoming increasingly central to the discipline as a whole, and interest has correspondingly grown. The material contained in the photographic library is highly relevant to contemporary, as well as historical, concerns.

From time to time, the photographic library provides a focus for exhibitions, events and publications of interest to visual anthropologists and historians of anthropology. Enquiries should be addressed to the Archivist.