Who are we and where do we come from? Our identity is our past, present and future.
CRAF was set up within ISES (Institute for Economic Development of Spilimbergo), which was founded on 10 June 1987 for the enhancement of the existing cultural heritage and the recovery of a strong local identity, it deploys the "fortunate" artistic legacy of the Gruppo Friulano per una Nuova Fotografia (GFNF), Friulian Group for a New Photography (GFNF), founded in Spilimbergo in the fifties by Aldo Beltrame, Carlo Bevilacqua, Gianni and Giuliano Borghesan, Toni del Tin, Fulvio Roiter and Italo Zannier. The GFNF, established in early 1955, publishes the first and only neorealist photography manifesto in Italy on 1 December of the same year. In the following years, Nino Migliori, Luciano Ferri, Gianni Berengo Gardin and Bepi Bruno joined the group. The neo-realist experience of the GFNF initiates the pioneering adventure of "Friuli Fotografia", which has been called "Spilimbergo Photography" since 1989, which identifies the major CRAF exhibition. During its first years of activity, between 1987 and 1993, numerous conferences, workshops, post-diploma courses have consolidated the liaison Spilimbergo - Photography.
The acronym C.R.A.F. (Centro Ricerca e Archiviazione della Fotografia)- Photography Research and Archiving Centre comes from a letter sent in 1987 by the photographer Italo Zannier to the then mayor of Spilimbergo Vincenzo Capalozza. In the letter Zannier coins this denomination, long-sightedly assigning a "regional theme" to the Centre, and configuring it as a body dedicated to research, reproduction, study, cataloguing, archiving of the photographic heritage of the territory.
Spilimbergo becomes a par excellence place for photography, designed to become a meeting point, an annual event for photographers and operators in the sector, similarly to other European experiences. On July 13, 1993 CRAF was officially established, recognized by the Regional government as a photographic archive and documentation centre. The Regional Law of 11 August 2014 recognizes the Centre as a "reference point for research, study, collection, census, archiving, preservation, digitization and valorisation".
Currently, CRAF has two offices: Palazzo Tadea in Spilimbergo where the archive and administrative offices are located and Villa Ciani housing the library and the training centre with classrooms equipped for specialist courses and workshops.
The photo library stores about 500,000 positive and negative photographs. There are numerous daguerreotypes, albumins, cartes de visite, positives on plate and nineteenth-century albums. To guarantee maximum protection of precious historical materials, CRAF is creating an air-conditioned storage area with controlled temperature and humidity. The library stores a corpus of 10 thousand monographs and 50,000 issues of specialized periodicals, some of high historical value and rarity.