Creating a photo database for research purposes offers many opportunities: find specific photos within a large set of images, link photos to other relevant pictures within the database or find similar photos. This article discusses the possibilities and difficulties when creating a research photo database, focusing on the process of describing photos. Which words can and should be used to describe a photo? Which thesaurus is suitable to describe visual resources and do different people describe the same photo in the same manner? These questions are addressed in the context of the development of a photo database for a research project on Dutch iconic photographs. By showing the difference in the assigned keywords of a photo of a Dutch politician in three archives, the article shows there will always be a difference in the connotation process of images when applying words to describe visual sources. Therefore, the author pleads to investigate the possibilities of image recognition software for describing photos.
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Kleppe, M. (2012). Wat is het onderwerp op een foto?. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 14(2), 93–107. Retrieved from