Instituto Ecuatoriano de Patrimonio Cultural

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Photography as documentary heritage


Photography as documentary heritage

In 2009, the State declared photography as a good belonging to Cultural and Documentary Heritage of Ecuador because it’s a carrier of information that allows the (re) construction of historical and social memory but it has been exposed to impairment loss and the fragility of its supports.

The National Archive of Photography is responsible for the inventory, cataloging and digitization of heritage photographs, ensuring their conservation and democratizing access.



At the end of 2015, there will be more than 20,000 cataloged photographs on our website.

Our collections:

To consolidate the National Archives of Photography and protect documents that were at risk, the INPC acquired the following collections:

  • Collection "Miguel Díaz Cueva": It contains more than 3,000 photographs showing the political life of the country and has portraits of those who inhabited the city of Cuenca in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

  • Collection "Alfredo Kuffó Anchundia": Comprising 316 photographs that allow revive the everyday life of Chone Canton and the province of Manabi. These images were captured in the first half of the twentieth century.

  • Collection "Benjamín Rivadeneira": Comprised of over 1,000 glass plates, reveals the work of one of the most important photographers of Quito in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

  • Collection "Julio Enrique Estrada Ycaza": Composed by 618 photographs, showing the process of industrialization of the country as well as political figures and the Ecuadorian aristocracy until 1920.


  • Collection "Manuel Jesús Serrano": It contains about 3,400 glass plates showing the cultural and social life of Cuenca and south of the country in the first decades of the twentieth century.

  • Collection "Fernando Zapata": Comprised of 206 portraits of the author, which denote the way of life of the city and the inhabitants of Latacunga between the forties and fifties of the twentieth century.


Heritage and community

With the aim of bringing the photographic heritage to the public, the National Archives of Photography held three exhibitions:

  • Manabí: Instants of memory: It was an exhibition in the cities of Portoviejo and Chone. It was accompanied by a citizen forum where images of those who inhabited this coastal province in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were presented.

  • Yachay, patrimonial territory: It was an investigation exposed in the “City of Knowledge” and the central park of Urcuquí - Imbabura. This is a piece of the history of the sugar mill and the operating system to which they were subjected workers Hacienda San José.

  • Morona Santiago , traces of memory : It is made up of 22 photographs of early last century that were captured in the province of Morona Santiago and collect images of daily life in the province with local photographers .


Conditions of use of the information:

The images found on this website are free to download, however you must respect conditions of use of the information:

  1. Digital photographs may not be altered or edited under any criteria, as the intellectual property rights of the photographers and authors who produced the images must be respected.
  2. In any case, credits of origin (author, background and source) and institutional (source of consultation) should be strictly cited to guarantee the ethical management of the photographic heritage of Ecuador.
  3. The printed reproduction of the photographs must be previously authorized by this institution.