ENGINEERS ARE being urged to scour their archives for historical site record photographs, many of which are now being hailed as masterpieces of early photography.
The development of photography in the mid 19th century was driven by engineers who quickly recognised its value for recording construction progress.
Many of these early photographs are now priceless.
But speaking at the ICE last month, photo historian Mike Collins said that untold numbers are thrown away unrecognised every year.
Collins, a former picture editor for the Daily Telegraph, has spent the last seven years researching how civil engineering influenced the development of photography. Much of this time was spent in the ICE archives.
'Lying unrecognised in archives like the ICE's are fantastic examples of undiscovered masterpieces of 19th century photography, ' said Collins. 'We need to recognise these jewels for what they are and make sure they don't get thrown away as dull landscapes.'
Collins is also concerned that few construction projects today are being captured with high quality print photography, as firms increasingly rely on digital cameras for progress images.
'Civil engineers are always complaining that architects get all the credit, ' said Collins.
'Architects get all the credit because people only see things when they are made, but people want to see them in the making.'