It’s been a few weeks since I last updated this blog so I thought I’d start with a picture taken earlier in the year entitled, “You’re not a goldfish”. Great fun taking the pictures, especially when the family of walkers came past.
It’s been a busy few weeks doing some installation photography, delivering a colour management lecture to digital humanities students at UCL and training students and staff to use the equipment at their new digitisation suite. Also spent a couple of days with some colleagues from the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography (AHFAP) at the Museum Associations 2013 conference in Liverpool to promote good photographic practise encompassing capture, output, preservation and image asset management. Thanks to all those who stopped and had a chat and I hope we were helpful.
Had a great day at the AHFAP conference at Tate Modern. I only managed the morning session due to work commitments but really enjoyed the presentations by Sarah Saunders on the role of the photographer and metadata in heritage workflow, Gwen Jones of the Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care (CHICC) at the John Rylands Library talking about the use photography to investigate rare manuscripts amongst other work they carry out and Maureen Pennock from the British Library who spoke about short and long term preservation of heritage content.
I’m now getting back to sorting out some material for the new AHFAP eResource site which should be up and running early next year and doing tests to improve colour and tone reproduction in the photography of flat copy works. Should have something sorted out soon.
The Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography annual conference 2013 takes place on Thursday 14th November. If haven’t already got a ticket you may need to hurry. There are very few tickets remaining.
There is a really strong set of presentations this year covering a variety of aspects of photography in the cultural heritage sector. If you have an interest in this field I suggest you book asap, the last time I looked there were fewer than 10 tickets remaining.
The full list of speakers can be found at the link below:
The 2013 AHFAP UK Conference will be held on Thursday 14 November in the Starr Auditorium at Tate Modern, London.
Innovating out of Austerity
For the first time, the conference will have a broad theme, and this year it is ‘Innovating out of Austerity’. We have now had three years of austerity, so how are image-makers in the UK cultural heritage sector adjusting to these changes, what new practices are being introduced and what innovations made?
The theme is not exclusive and papers on other topics and techniques relevant to our sector are equally welcome.
It is planned that the timetable will accommodate papers of 15-, 30- and 45-minute durations. Please submit your proposals to email@example.com by Monday 30 September.
I’ve been going through some old photographs I took in China a few years ago and thought I’d share the picture above. Not because it is a particularly great photograph, although it does remind me a little of the poster for Tarrantino’s Reservoir Dogs taken from the rear rather than the front, but more for how it perfectly illustrates to me China’s economic ambitions whilst still trying to maintain the social structure of the state. Three of the people in the picture are the Director and Deputy Director of the Guangdong Art Museum in Guangzhou and their architect. They are showing guests around a disused coal powered power station on the outskirts of Guangzhou that they are planning to turn into a modern art gallery along a similar vein to Tate Modern. So why is this picture of interest? well at the time of taking the picture we were informed that the bulldozers were to move in within 6 weeks. 6 weeks? look at the trees and the hedge, look at the roadway swept of leaves, just the general cleanliness. The hedges were cut to represent the dragon and there were a team of gardeners working all around in gardens that were to be flattened in 6 weeks. Madness? who knows, employment is maintained and workers appear to have pride in their work, but is it worth it?
As a postscript I never knew if the Gallery ever opened, at the time I thought it was an ambitious plan. The Guangzhou power station could have accommodated at least 2-3 Tate Moderns but they certainly had self belief and veryy ambitious plans.
A couple of panorama’s produced using Photomerge and some handheld images taken with a compact camera. The first is from Les Contanimes, France. The second is from an evening at the Paralympic games last summer. I’ve used photomerge in the past to produce giga pixel images of works of art under strict lighting and exposure conditions but thought I’d produce a couple of images using some quick hand held images to see how well it works.
When photographing an artists work of art it is important that the capture is optimized to ensure the integrity of the work whilst maximising the detail of the original. This can only be done by optimising the entire capture process.
To optimize the capture system the following criteria needs to be reviewed:
Ensure your optical system is optimised for the lighting system that is used. Not all lighting systems are the same and in general the more you pay the better the system. This doesn’t mean a cheaper system cannot be used, just that a little more care maybe required to get the best results.
Ensure the signal to noise ratio of the system is set to give maximum detail. This usually just means setting the lowest ISO value on the camera.
Make sure the image colour space is suitable for the uses you want the files to be used for in the future. Most monitors are sRGB but the print industry like Adobe RGB. There are other spaces that could also be suitable and some that are much larger but you would need to decide whether these are suitable for you.
Capture the work at an identical tone to the original. This means if your original is dark and with little contrast the captured image reflects that. If for output purposes this doesn’t reproduce well later then you can always tweak the image to your satisfaction although this would be best done in a separate layer of the image file to preserve the integrity of the original capture.
It was interesting to listen to Alan Newman’s presentation at the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography conference last week announcing that images of works of art from the National Gallery Washington in the public domain can now be downloaded and used for free for any use in future. He reported that the economic model of charging for images no longer works and that newer revenue streams are now being explored.
This presentation was then followed by James Davis of Google Art demonstrating how Google is attempting to bring together a single point of entry to exploration of the cultural heritage and archive sectors.
I’ve just organized my membership for the Association of Historical and Fine Art Photography for another year and booked a place at their annual conference taking place at the Dulwich Picture Gallery on 19th November 2012.
I’m particularly looking forward to having a chat with Alan Newman from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, regarding giga pixel and hyperspectral imaging.
I know the National Gallery of Art were looking seriously at undertaking more giga pixel imaging so I’m quite keen to pick his brains about their experiences, and compare it with my experiences of producing the giga pixel image for the artist Ralph Heimans Diamond Jubilee portrait of HRH the Queen.
9.15 am – Registration and coffee
10.00 am – Welcome, introduction and house-keeping
10.10 am – Dulwich Picture Gallery
10.20 am – Annette King from the Tate Gallery will speak on a project to x-ray some of the gallery’s paintings by Picasso
10.50 am – James Davis from Google talks about Google Art
11.20 am – Alan Newman of the National Gallery of Art Washington DC will talk about their free image download service
11.50 am – ‘Terry Dennett, 60 years in photography’, a presentation and short video
12.30 pm – Lunch
2.00 pm – James Stevenson talks about the life and work of photographer Claude Cahun
2.45 pm – Sophie Gordon from the Royal Collection will speak on the collection’s extensive photographic archive
3. 30 pm – Dave Baker, an urban guerrilla photographer, will speak about his recent visit to Chernobyl