Digitising materials in the facilities of the Press Photo Archive JOKA (cropped image), Ilari Järvinen / JOKA / Finnish Heritage Agency

JOKA – What is JOKA?

The Press Photo Archive JOKA was established as a part of the Picture Collections of the Finnish Heritage Agency on 1 January 2014. JOKA makes news, entertainment, cultural and sports photographs from the past available for everyone to view. The picture archive ensures the preservation of the picture collections of important press photographers, newspapers and magazines together with other museums and archives, and it strengthens the position of photojournalism as a part of cultural heritage.

Even though the collections of museums and archives include extensive press photograph materials, many of the press photograph collections with cultural and historical significance are scattered and unavailable to the general public, in conditions that endanger their permanent preservation. JOKA accepts, records, stores, digitises and publishes key press photograph collections.

The JOKA collections already include 13 million pictures, such as the photograph collections of the Kaleva and Maaseudun Tulevaisuus newspapers, which cover almost the entire 1900s, as well as the materials of the news photograph office Pressfoto from 1974 to 1996. The historical collection of photographs of the newspaper Uusi Suomi was transferred from the Finnish Museum of Photography to the possession of JOKA in 2016.

JOKA’s collections by photographers include the press photograph collections of UA Saarinen and Helge Heinonen, the photograph collection of the fashion photographer Kari Pulkkinen, and news photographs taken by Lauri Sorvoja from Kotka during his career that spanned over 30 years.

JOKA’s aim is to collect and maintain information on Finnish press photograph collections, whether they are located at magazine and newspaper publishers’ premises, museums, or archives or in the possession of press photographers. Based on the material surveys, JOKA plans a national collection policy for press photographs in cooperation with the national division of museums’ recording work (TAKO) and magazine and newspaper publishers. JOKA is also developing the cataloguing and searchability features of large photograph collections in the storage systems of museums, such as in the Museum 2015 project.

The Finnish Heritage Agency and the Finnish Museum of Photography were responsible for founding JOKA. The project phase (2010−2013) was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The JOKA project was a part of the Government programme from 2011 to 2015.