On August 18, 2022, the Landmarks Preservation Commission launched the LPC Designation Photo Collection, a digital photo archive of New York City’s designated landmarks and historic districts. The digital photo archive allows the public to easily search and explore high-resolution images of designated buildings and sites throughout the five boroughs, and property owners, architects and contractors can now easily search and download designation photos as they consider work on these properties. This project was made possible, in part, through a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Read the press release here.
For more than 55 years, LPC has been documenting designated buildings and sites through photography as part of the designation process. When LPC designates a property, it documents it in a designation report with a written description and photographs, both of which serve as a baseline for future work. Until now, these designation photos had only been available by request, and now they are accessible to all in a digital format that is easy to access.
The LPC Designation Photo Collection, available at https://nyclandmarks.lunaimaging.com/, allows user to search for images by landmark name, address, block and lot number, and landmark number. The digital photo archive is enhanced by LPC’s historic building data, which includes building-by-building information on more than 37,500 buildings. This enhancement offers additional search and filter functions that will allow users to search images by architect, style, construction date, building type, or materials. For more information on how to navigate the archive, please visit, How to Navigate the LPC Photo Archive on the main page.
The images in the LPC Designation Photo Collection are an interesting mix of 35 mm black-and-white and color film, medium and large format negatives, color slides, and miscellaneous darkroom prints and Polaroids. Given the advances in photography, LPC transitioned from analog to digital photography in 2004. Though most of the images were taken by staff photographers working for the agency, some images have been donated and submitted by historic preservation advocacy groups. The LPC Designation Photo Collection is just part of the agency’s photo archive. It will be regularly updated with newly digitized and catalogued images. All photos can be downloaded from the archive at no cost. Any reproduction of archive photos must credit the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the source.
LPC will be offering a webinar on Tuesday, September 20 at 6 pm to provide a tutorial of the digital photo archive. To register, go to https://forms.office.com/g/7x6TN1A99X.