In the FORTEPAN collection you may browse and download 54779 archival photos in high quality. Using the slider at the bottom of the page you can start watching the photos at any year of the past century: in AUTO position the show will be automatic while in MANUAL you have to click on the arrow in the upper right corner or use the arrows of the keyboard to see the photos one by one. By clicking on the name of the original owner of the photograph, you may select that person’s collection. To read the background data (if there exists any), click on the letter I in the bottom right corner of the photo, or hit the I key. As FORTEPAN continuously expands, it welcomes donations of new private or amateur photos from the past. Pictures on the FORTEPAN website can be published without restrictions, for whatever purpose, on the condition that they credited FOTO: FORTEPAN / XY (name of donor).
FORTEPAN was founded by Ákos Szepessy and Miklós Tamási in the fall 2010. It got its name from the Forte factory in Vác, Hungary: Forte was the widest spread and most popular negative film after World War II. The on-line archive first consisted of the photo collections of the two founders. The majority of the 5000 scanned pictures came from 20 years of scavenging household junk for albums and film negatives. The founders had a dual goal with presenting and sharing their findings. On the one hand they wanted draw attention to the legacy of (mainly unknown) amateur photographers. As opposed to official press photos, these pictures show another Hungary, denying or supplementing the perception that only public events took place in the 20th century: inaugurated, signed, arrested, welcomed, buried. In FORTEPAN the world consists of holidays, every day and celebratory events, travels, portraits, children and homes. On the other hand they wanted to put these historical photos in public domain. In contrast to the (often necessary) practice of public collections demanding publication of copyright fee, FORTEPAN photos are free of charge. As soon as almost right after the launch of the website, it turned out that our goals are endorsed by many. The first donors came to offer “the public” their old albums or own photos, changing the website from including only photographs of unknown authors into a repository with family collections too.
At the same time, several institutions and photo libraries have contacted us to offer their archives, resulting in annually several thousands of new selected photographs on FORTEPAN. When the website first came out, there was no information on the pictures. Even if there was a pencil scribbling on the back, the founders thought they preferred to concentrate on the faces, landscapes and objects. However, it soon became clear that comments by viewers on Fortepan Forum are very valuable and should be made public too. These data now are included – and regularly updated – in the information on the various photos, and free text search is made possible. We have to thank our volunteer editors who check, standardize and export the information coming from the Forum. What we want for our visitors is to use, copy, share, forward the photographs. We would welcome a note or a link if you happen to publish one or two of them, to see our photos being used and to keep track of them. If you use a photo in print or in internet, please mark them FOTO: FORTEPAN / XY (name of donor). FORTEPAN welcomes archival photos in any format. We encourage our visitors to share their family collections with us and help re-draw the imagery history of Hungary in the 20th century.