​​In his book "How the fortress was captured, Brigadier General Yitzhak Sade wrote: "Some people on the battlefield are armed with cameras." And indeed, with the establishment of the IDF, a photography company was established in the "Maps and Photography Service." Some of those who served in the company won fame later as first class photographers, among them Boris Carmi, Yitzhak Mirlyn, and others. These photographers accompanied the IDF units in the battles of the War of Independence, and documented the period.​

At the same time, BaMahane, the IDF's weekly magazine, also recruited photographers, to document various unit for the magazine articles. Boris Carmi was the magazine's first permanent photographer, who was later joined by Avraham Vered, who gained fame as sole photographer of the paratroopers' operations from the early 1950's until the Sinai War (1956). Micha Bar Am, Micky Zarfati, Avi Simchoni and others continued to document various security events and the period's folklore in the IDF and the defense establishment. BaMahane's pictures collection constitutes a considerable part of the Archive of the IDF and the Security Establishment's photography collection. Other collections arrived from the editorial boards of "BaMahane Nahal," BaMahane Gadna," "Aley Yam," etc.

In addition, the Archive of the IDF and the Security Establishment purchased the collections of Yehuda Eizenstark, who photographed Jerusalem and its environs from 1947 to the early 1950's; Fred Chesnik, who documented various aspects of Israel's society in the 1950's, for example, immigration, and absorption of immigrants; and of Arie (Arthur) Rosman, who took class photos in various IDF courses.

In 2010, the photography collection of The IDF Spokesperson's Unit Filming Unit was transferred to the Archive of the IDF and the Security Establishment, considerably enriching the photography collection.

There are 2,700,000 photographs in the collection, and it is open to queries with the following parameters: subjects; personalities; places; dates; photographers etc.

The Archive of the IDF and the Security Establishment allows use for a fee of photographs, of which it owns the copyrights (to the price list).

You may search photographs in the ca​talog​​.