Photo Elysée holds nearly 20,000 photography books. They are mainly monographs of photographers and artists, as well as themed books on landscapes, portraits or surrealist photography to name a few.

Library Closure

The library is currently closed.

The photography book

The photography book has become a collection object and a subject of research. Aesthetic and graphic, uniting image, typography and text, it is one of the best sources of the history of photography, allowing to follow the evolution of an artist, to understand a period, to apprehend the genres and the themes which make the complexity and the interest of photography.

Photo Elysée's library contains various collections and sets such as the complete collection of the editions of the Guilde du Livre, a substantial set of children's photography books, a large number of Chinese and Japanese books, not to mention the Plantureux collection dedicated to 19th century photographic processes and techniques. The libraries of Christoph Schifferli, Kaspar Fleischmann and Peter Born have recently been added to the collection of historical reference publications. Our library thus contains many unique copies within the Renouvaud network, and even within the canton of Vaud or French-speaking Switzerland.

Our library also houses a significant collection of precious books. It is made up of rare books, fragile books, artists' books, autographed books and bibliophile editions accompanied by photographic prints.

Online catalog


Our library is indexed on Renouvaud, the research catalog of the Vaud university library network.

A mutualized library

The library that we will be sharing with the mudac at Plateforme 10 will offer an unparalleled reference heritage in the fields of photography, design and creation as a whole, with a common catalog. Physical and digital resources will be available for consultation on site. A space will be reserved for the presentation of small documentary, thematic or monographic exhibitions.


Photobooks Elysée

In January 2017, the digital library project passed a new milestone and became accessible online. Out of 20,000 photography books, 2000 have been digitized, page by page, and indexed. The platform allows to consult the archive, to perform textual searches within the works and to browse them online. By applying the logic of Big Data to photography books, Photo Elysée intends to open new perspectives of research and accessibility.

Digitization project

True to its primary missions of conservation and transmission, Photo Elysée launched an essential project in 2014 for future generations: the digitization of its library dedicated to photography. Comprising 20,000 works, the museum's library tells the story of photography through unpublished editions, rare books and works that are now out of print.

With its digitization project, the museum wishes to make this unique heritage accessible to the public and to research teams. Thanks to an automatic scanner capable of digitizing up to 1,500 pages per hour, the museum aims to offer the first dematerialized library of photography books and thus to assert itself as a center of research and excellence in digital matters.

Photo Elysée is associated for this project with the Laboratoire des humanités digitales of the EPFL for the development of a navigation platform that will allow complete searches on the texts and images of all the digitized books.