2014 Conference Abstracts

Conference Abstracts with PowerPoint slides to follow post conference.

2+3D Photography – practice and prophecies
A look at the future of digitization
Cecile van de Harten, Head of Imaging Department, Rijksmuseum

Upon its introduction, digital photography was met with reluctance by some, but it was also embraced by others who welcomed new techniques. The transition from analog to digital workflows was at times a bumpy ride; however, through the years we have ironed out these difficulties to the point that we now have digital workflows with standardized capture methods. We have also reinstated dependable values that we had neglected with the naïve notion that the digital age would virtually replace everything.

We are now facing similar challenges with the advancement of 3D capturing techniques. We do not want to jump on this 3D train so quickly. We want the train to stop for us, which means we need to establish some rules and guidelines so that developers will meet our needs.

This conference will focus on digital photography developments. We will look at what your role will be as a photographer and what these new techniques will mean for your organization, your workflow, your storage, your accessibility. Can we create a role for the photography department in the future, a role that will be increasingly more scientific? The conference will consist of lively discussions and hands on activity in the form of presentations and workshops on all these topics: photographers, studio managers, developers, and science.

AHFAP 2014 (Adobe PDF, 2.7mb)

Heritage Imaging at UCL
Dr Tim Weyrich
Showcasing work by: Dr Alejandro Giacometti, Professor Adam Gibson, Mona Hess, John Hindmarch, Lindsay Macdonald, Kazim Pal, Professor Stuart Robson, Professor Melissa Terras, and Dr Tim Weyrich

Developing best practices for Heritage Imaging encompasses various choices regarding approach, technology, and domain specific knowledge. Over the past few years at UCL, we have been building up our activities and expertise in heritage imaging, working in both 2D and 3D multi-modal imaging of cultural heritage material, with a variety of heritage organisations such as galleries, libraries, archives and museums, in interdisciplinary cross-faculty research teams. In this presentation, we will showcase some of the major work undertaken at UCL over the past 10 years, including E-Curator (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/research/ecurator), the Great Parchment Book, (http://www.greatparchmentbook.org/), The Science Museum Shipping Gallery 3D Model (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/about_us/history/shipping.aspx), best practice in multispectral imaging of damaged parchment material, the creation of our UCL Multi-Modal Digitisation Suite for both teaching and research (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dh/facilities/digitisation-suite), the 3D Petrie project and the development of 2D and 3D imaging reference artefacts. We will highlight issues in both the development and refinement of digital capture methods for heritage applications, but also in understanding their use and usefulness in the heritage sector and beyond.

Striking a Chord for Digitisation: focussing on musical instrument collections
Norman Rodger, Projects and Innovation Manager, Library and University Collections, University of Edinburgh

From 2009-2011, the University of Edinburgh was the lead partner in a major European funded project entitled MIMO, Musical Instrument Museums Online.  The catalyst for this project was the recognition that there was no easy way to discover information about musical instruments held in public collections and so the aim was was to create a single access point to digital content and information on the collections of musical instruments held in European museums.  Additionally, there was no set of standards for the way in which musical instruments were photographed or presented online, making it difficult for researchers in this field to conduct comparative study.

In this presentation I will give an outline of the project and what it achieved, with particular focus on the photography of the instruments and the development of the digitisation standard document, as well as looking at has been achieved since the project ended, in terms of other museums and the impact it has had for the University of Edinburgh and its online presentation of collections.

Norman Rodger AHFAP (Adobe PDF, 4mb)

Heritage Lottery Funded Skills for the Future programme
Rose Hilson Summers, Tate Photographic Studio Trainee

The Heritage Lottery Funded Skills for the Future programme offers work-based training, here a photographic trainee technician describes their experience at Tate. http://www.tate.org.uk/about/projects/skills-for-the-future-programme

RoseSummers Presentation (Adobe PDF, 1.6mb)

3D Documentation of Heritage Collections
Dr Karina Rodriguez Echavarria, Cultural Informatics Research Group (CIRG), University of Brighton

3D technologies offer the opportunity to enrich the documentation of cultural heritage using a variety of approaches. Although this is not a “one size fits all” solution, different technologies and business models are available to be deployed to heritage organisations. This talk will explore research work in which the Cultural Informatics Research Group at Brighton University has participated in the last few years in this area. The talk will discuss the technologies as well as more practical considerations such as skills, equipment, cost, time and quality of results.

‘How do you do that?’ Accepting the need for continual professional development.
Matt Faber, Digital Imaging Advisor, JISC Digital Media

Jisc Digital Media helps the UK’s higher education, further education and skills communities embrace and maximise the use of digital media.

The purpose of this presentation is to look at and discuss the need for continued professional development, in 3D imaging, for image makers working in the cultural and heritage sector. Within further and higher education establishments it is often the faculties of computer sciences, archaeology and engineering that study and utilize 3D imaging technologies. This is currently however, not a skillset taught as part of photographic education. However, within the cultural and heritage sectors, it will fall upon an institution’s image makers to fulfil this need. It can be very difficult for these staff members to assimilate the necessary knowledge skillsets organically to achieve this, given the demands placed upon them. However, with an ever increasing demand for 3D imaging, it is absolutely vital that this training is available, when an increasing number of commercial providers offer the option of outsourcing. This presentation will suggest that it is necessary for image makers to find the necessary skills within academia which will enable them in turn to become the experts.

If you Google ‘3D imaging workshops’ you’ll be disappointed in the results. There is no training available, or workshops being run, in this country currently, available to professional image makers, which address the various technologies and issues surrounding 3D imaging within the cultural and heritage sector. 3D imaging is a bit of a ‘hot potato’ at the moment with Jisc Digital Media receiving an ever increasing number of enquiries regarding the production of 3D images for museums. The various mailing lists and forums are constantly full of ‘How to’ questions leading one to conclude that there is a deficiency in training opportunities. This presentation is an attempt to initiate a discussion and possibly even offer some answers to this problem.

AHFAP presentation (Adobe PDF, 1.3mb)

IPTC, SCREM and why we need embedded metadata in heritage
Sarah Saunders, Electric Lane
Sarah will update the conference on the initiative to include more data fields in IPTC and the follow – up to that project, SCREM, which aims to standardise data fields for embedding data exchanges within and between heritage organisations. Sarah has worked with a number of heritage organisations recently (Historic Royal Palace, the Art Fund, are recent/current clients) and need for embedded data arises whenever an organisation sets up a new DAM. She will describe some of the issues on the ground as well as the wider problems of setting standards in an ever changing media environment.

2014 AHFAP_SarahSaunders (Adobe PDF, 2.3mb)

DIY Image Quality
Colin White – Photography and Digital Imaging

A brief introduction and demonstration on how to use tools available on the web to evaluate the image quality of your camera systems.

colinwhite_AHFAP 2014 (Adobe PDF, 0.4mb)

Eye in the sky – the work of the RCAHMS Aerial Survey Team and photographic recording of man’s impact on the Scottish landscape
Robert M Adam, Aerial Photographer, RCAHMS

From Shetland to the Borders, the Aerial Survey Team of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has been recording man’s impact on the  landscape of Scotland for over 40 years. The work the team has carried out forms a substantial part of RCAHMS’ archive and the images captured are displayed in many publications, exhibitions and at conferences.

This talk will also cover some of the techniques involved and new developments in aerial photography.

AHFAP14-RobertAdam (Adobe PDF, 2.8mb)

An Unusual Career Path – From Archaeologist to Museum Photographer
Kira Zumkley, Project Photographer, Science Museum

Born and raised in a small village in rural Germany I have always enjoyed being outside and knew from an early age that I wanted to work in a job that would not restrict me to sitting in front of a desk all day. Like every child I would get lost in the stories I read about ancient kings and the adventures of many other fictional characters. Later – and I have to say the stereotype about Archaeologists is true – I watched Harrison Ford fight for antique treasures and saw every documentary I could find about long forlorn cultures of the world.

Therefore – after having finished school – I moved to Muenster to study Archaeology. I loved every part of it but soon realised that there were a lot of students and very few jobs. So in order to set myself apart from all the other alumni I very rationally decided that becoming a photographer would do just that and on top of it nurture my creative streak which I had more or less abandoned when I stared university. Little did I know that this rational decision would turn out to be the best idea I ever had.

After finishing my BA I moved to London to study photography at the London College of Communication. It was a time of self-discovery and the more I progressed the more I realized that photography was offering me a creative outlet that went beyond the fulfilment that my academic life had offered me so far. Nevertheless after my final show in London I went back to Germany and started my MA in Archaeology. It wasn’t the easiest choice and I struggled a lot to find out which career should prevail the other since there still seemed no easy way to combine the two and still make a living.

I went on excavations instead only to then move to Vienna to work for Lomography. This didn’t work out as planned either so I moved back to Muenster, did more freelance work and continued studying my MA. It wasn’t until I did an internship with the photographic department at the Victoria and Albert Museum that I finally found what I was looking for – a way to combine my passion for history and working in the cultural heritage sector whilst still having that creative outlet that photography provided for me. Now, one and a half years later, I live in London again and work as a photographer at the Science Museum. Working on the Science Museum’s Information Age project is exactly what I was looking for – diverse, creative, working with historical objects in the non-commercial sector and a perfect combination of my two fields of expertise – Photography and Archaeology.

AHFAP14-KiraZumkley (Adobe PDF, 4.2mb)