Photographs are images produced on radiation-sensitive materials, usually from a chemical action of light on a sensitive film, paper, glass, or metal. The photographic image may occur in positive or negative forms on opaque or transparent material. Photographs in archival collections can range from family snapshots to art photography, from daguerreotypes to silver gelatin prints. Collections from the end of the twentieth century and later may also include digitally-printed images.
Photographers create photographic images with a variety of intentions. It is important for the archivist to consider the context for the image creation as well as the image content of photographs.