122 Articles
Medium 9781538119969

The Snapshots of A. Thomas Nelson

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Snapshots of A. Thomas Nelson

A Case Study in the Preservation of Early 20th-Century Vernacular Albums

Stephanie Becker

Institutional Repository Content Manager, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH; stephanie.becker@case.edu

Abstract Throughout the early 20th century, A. Thomas Nelson took snapshots while traveling the United States and Canada. His wife, Catherine Nelson, made a selection of these and placed them within eight photographic albums, later acquired by the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. Using one of these, “Snapshots from Travels in the United States and Canada (1904–1940),” as a case study, this article explores preservation practices for early 20th-century vernacular albums. While such albums are a valuable part of any collection, they present many complex preservation challenges due to the variety of materials contained within a single object. Critical questions about cataloging, digitizing, and rehousing methods guide decisions on how to stabilize the album’s fragile condition and allow for access. This case study offers insight for collection managers and archivists who find themselves caring for similar snapshot albums.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781538119969

Tangible Objects versus Digital Interfaces

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Tangible Objects versus Digital Interfaces

Opportunities to Harness the Potential of Augmented Reality to Interact with Photographic Collections in Museums and Archives

Ingrid Forster

Photo Archivist, Photographer, Digital Media Strategist, Master of Digital Media Candidate 2018, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, CN; ingrid@ingridhforster.com

Abstract The use of augmented reality (AR) as an immersive and interactive engagement tool for art and cultural institutions is increasing. AR, when used in a meaningful way, has shown great potential for discovery-based learning experiences. In this article, I consider the potential of AR for photographic collections in museums and archives by addressing two key questions: How can digital tools like AR serve to enhance our understanding of photographs as both object and image? What are the implications and limitations of this technology when used for this purpose?

Sometimes you need to touch something to better understand it, but fulfilling that desire is not always possible. Take photographic objects—interacting with their physicality is seldom possible for researchers and members of the public alike. Photographs are understood as both object and image, a duality that generates debate in terms of how photographs are used for research, how they are exhibited and managed (physically and digitally), and how they are preserved in archives and museum collections. Given this dual status, it is worth considering the use of current digital technology as a means of interacting with photographic collections.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781538119969

Decoding

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Decoding

A Guide to Kodak Paper Surface Characteristics

Erin Fisher

Independent Researcher, Rochester, NY; efphotomail@gmail.com

Abstract From 1880 to 2005, the Eastman Kodak Company manufactured black-and-white fiber-based gelatin silver paper in a wide variety of weights, grades, and formats. Kodak manufacturer records and sample books include details about Kodak paper surface characteristics and are an invaluable resource for understanding photographic paper materials. Using the extensive number of Kodak data books, manuals, and manufacturing records spread out in the collections of three Rochester, New York–based institutions—George Eastman Museum, University of Rochester Special Collections, and Image Permanence Institute—I created a chronological guide to Kodak photographic paper surface characteristics. This guide is not an approximate identification guide for Kodak papers but rather a resource that can be used to fill in gaps and propose questions about Kodak manufacturing history that is no longer easily accessible. The guide aims to help researchers, photography archivists and historians, conservators, collection managers, or anyone else interested in Kodak history gain access to a better understanding of photographic paper produced by Kodak from 1930 to 1955. The process for creating the guide is described in this article and may be used as a starting point for future research while also illuminating the importance of documenting and providing access to technological and material details about photographic objects.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781538119969

Overcoming Legacy Processing in Photographic Collections through Collaboration and Digital Technologies

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Overcoming Legacy Processing in Photographic Collections through Collaboration and Digital Technologies

Terri Holtze

Head of Web Services, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library, Louisville, KY; terri.holtze@louisville.edu

Rachel Howard

Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Louisville, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY; rachel.howard@louisville.edu

Randy Kuehn

Digital Technologies Systems Librarian, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library, Louisville, KY; randy.kuehn@louisville.edu

Rebecca Pattillo

Metadata Librarian, University of Louisville, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY; rebecca.pattillo@louisville.edu

Elizabeth Reilly

Curator, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY; elizabeth.reilly@louisville.edu

Abstract In the 1960s, a Louisville photography studio began donating its negatives, prints, and invoices to the University of Louisville Photographic Archives. The Caufield & Shook collection remains a significant primary source for local history and a prime candidate for digitization. Unfortunately, on its receipt, nonarchivists processed the collection with little documentation of original order or organizational decision making. Additionally, workflow choices were determined largely by the desire to maximize student labor. In 2017, the digital initiatives librarian worked with in-house application developers and archives staff to create a workflow that has significantly sped up the process of making this valuable photographic collection accessible online. This article describes how archivists recovered from the poor processing decisions, used technology to enhance the digitization workflow, and developed a list of best practices for future processing and digitization of large photographic collections.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781538119969

Imaging as Praxis

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Imaging as Praxis

Cataloging, Housing, and Installing Lele Saveri’s The Newsstand

Tasha Lutek

Collection Specialist, Department of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; tasha_lutek@moma.org

Abstract In 2013, The Newsstand, a pop-up space featuring hundreds of zines and art objects, was installed in a Brooklyn, New York, subway station. The space was designed to be a site of collaboration and inspiration for artists. Even though the intention was not for it to be an artwork, two years later the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) re-created and exhibited The Newsstand in its galleries. To activate the installation, visitors were invited to engage with the space and read the zines contained inside. At the close of the exhibition, the work entered MoMA’s collection and shortly after was lent to the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV). The volume of material and interactive qualities of The Newsstand present unique challenges for collection staff. Using two museum installations as departure points, this is a case study outlining the strategies employed for cataloging, housing, and installing this complex work, focusing on how imaging played an essential role in making sense of the transition from nonart status to collection object.

See All Chapters

See All Articles