efoto hamburg

For citizens as well as for visitors of Hamburg photos of the city, of its attractions and scenes from  everyday life provide a unique possibility to experience the cultural diversity of the city. To date, significant amounts of these images have accumulated and been kept in different repositories:  in public and private archives, government agencies, museums, etc.. One of the key project goals of efoto is to make all of these available to the public via an interactive online platform and a mobile efoto-app, thus combining public access to data with innovative social media, social tagging and user generated content applications. Click here for more detail on the efoto-project website.

Project profile

The efoto project is funded by the Authority for Cultural Affairs of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The efoto team of Prof.Dr. Jan Christoph Meister (PI), Mareike Schumacher (RA), Jacek Grzondziel (RA), Anna Ludolph and Fabian Wiez (Student assistants) cooperates with experts from the municipal authorities, museums and citizen initiatives in order address the needs of professional users as well as appeal to a variety of new user groups. Users are invited to engage with the material actively by enriching them with descriptions, stories, information – a new participatory way of dealing with images and cultural artifacts.

Image and text data, primary and metadata are stored automatically in the database and cross-linked so that they may be searched, combined and commented on according to user interests. efoto is based on relevant metadata standards (LIDO, CIDOC, etc.).

What is ‘culture’ ?

The project is based on an understanding of culture formed by Niklas Luhmann: we consider ‘culture’ as a stock of themes that encourages communication and motivates interaction on a reflective level. One of the main goals of efoto is thus to proceed from the level of the purely visual “cityscapes” to an exchange about what constitutes the culture of the city of Hamburg. Thus not only visual, but also mental “views” of the City of Hamburg are shared with each other. efoto will offer the possibility to add own stories to the pictures in the database, as well as to upload own images and tell others what they are about. As other users are equally invited to write down their associations with the photographs a multi-layered kaleidoscope consisting of narratives and counter narratives developes. Thus a complex cultural history of the city of Hamburg and its inhabitants evolves.

efoto as part of the European Digital Metropoles Network

efoto is one of the pilot projects under the eCulture 2020-agenda of the city of Hamburg and is also embedded within the European Digital Metropoles Network. efoto is not only one of the first projects in Hamburg which makes culture accessible in a digital environment, but also takes a leading role in the Network, which unites the three European cities of London, Florence and Hamburg.