In honor of National Archives Month, Project SAVE's Photo Archivist Marta Fodor will be answering some Frequently Asked Questions.
In 2020, Marta joined Project SAVE as the Photographic Archivist. She oversees the accessioning, processing, cataloging, and preservation of collections, and provides reference services to clients from around the world. Marta is also a photographer, and has a deep understanding of how photographs tell and preserve stories.
Marta brings her unique perspective as a photographer to promote the access and usage of Project SAVE's c0llections.
Q: How did you become an archivist?
"Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated with photographs. There is a photo of me as a 4 year old, sitting on a rug, with photos spread out around me that I arranged in groups. I studied photography at the Massachusetts College of Art, and spent many hours in the darkroom, as well as in the printmaking and the metalsmithing studio, experimenting with many photographic processes."
"I value the combination of an artistic eye, craftsmanship and chemistry involved in creating photographic objects from the 19th and early 20th centuries. I received my MLS from Queens College, CUNY and worked and interned at archives and other institutions in the New York City area for a few years, before returning to Boston to work at the Museum of Fine Arts as the Digital Archivist. Project SAVE is where I have been able to put all my training and interest to use in caring for this amazing collection."
Q: What does a day in the life of an archivist look like?
"Every day is different here and that is one of the many reasons I like it so much here. I could spend the day responding to research requests, labeling photos, cataloging, rehousing negatives or working with a photo donor to inspect an unopened box of photographs"
Q: Has anything about the collection surprised you?
"The biggest surprise coming to Project SAVE was the massiveness of what we have. The sheer quantity as well as how long of a time period we cover, from 1860s to today. The history of photography exists in our collection, from salt paper prints, albumen prints to modern Polaroids, it’s all here."
Q: What has been your favorite discovery in the collection?
"We have been receiving photographs of a large extended Armenian-American family here in the Boston area, from a handful of different photo donors."
"One photo donor donated the original glass plate negatives of some of the photographs so I knew the rest were out there somewhere. Turns out the rest of the glass plates, including the very camera the documented this family through the decades, is also in our collection. Holding the camera, along with the original plates that went into it, was truly magical."
Q: What are your favorite photos from the collection?
Q: How can I learn more about Project SAVE?