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There are things that the camera can see that the eye almost can’t see, and often when I am photographing things and we are working with conservation, we will see things that you didn’t realize was there.

Graham Haber, The Morgan Library, New York City

Cultural heritage photography

Follow us inside the walls of The Morgan Library in New York, for a journey in cultural heritage photography.

repro solutions

Cultural Heritage Photography

The need for digitization is growing rapidly, with enhanced focus on information to the public, and preservation of information for the future. Many museums and libraries with valuable collections are expanding their digitization efforts, with all the exiting possibilities which are made possible by the rapid growth of internet access for everyone.

The history of Cultural Heritage photography is as long-standing as photography itself. Historic collections at museums or libraries often have had a photographic studio allocated for creating photographs of sensitive material, or to create paper copies for researchers or students, for saving the original object from wear or even damage..

Changing from analog based film processing to digitally based media has enabled for a completely new range of applications, and the possibility to share the material with a much broader audience than previously, and at the same time the reproduction quality has increased significantly.

Preserving and conserving the past for the future is often a race against time, as much material has a limited lifespan before it is gone forever, thus solutions that enable rapid capture are not only necessary but often crucial.

We offer solutions to satisfy a wide range of digitization needs, by providing complete installations for new systems, or by optimizing individual components of existing solutions. All our components are modular, so that it is always possible to renew them when technology evolves in a area.

CULTURAL HERITAGE SOLUTION GUIDE
repro solutions

Flat Reproduction

The most common forms of Cultural Heritage collections include documents, manuscripts, photos, newspapers, musical scores, letters, post cards, and other flat objects in all sizes and shapes.

Common to all of these collections is the need to obtain high quality reproductions of consistent quality, on a system with good ergonomics, while at the same time minimizing the risk of errors and accidental damage to the material.

The requirement for lighting may be divided into two categories:

1) Uniform light over the entire surface, with strict requirements to color precision. This is often achieved by photographing the material together with a color chart, for the option of recreating the correct and exact colors in the future.

2) Directional light may be used to enhance texture and three-dimensional look of the object. This type of work often leaves artistic freedom to the photographer; as the choices of light will enhance certain features, while diminish others, thus giving the image an interpreted look or style.

Operators for these types of task will typically be trained photographers for the case of directed light, or curators and photographers for uniform light scenarios.

repro solutions

Book Reproduction

A large part of the Cultural Heritage community deals with the digitization of rare and delicate bound materials, such as books.

Digitization of books often requires special attention to the binding, as this often is fragile, and will determine how the material can be treated in the process. This fact will often be the limiting factor for the capture speed of the material.

Uniform lighting will typically be the choice of operation here, and will often be the same throughout when working with non-reflective material. In situations with a mixture of non reflective and reflective materials, the photographer may have to adjust the lighting, which will be possible using rapid capture solutions using external light sources.

On regular reprographic copy stands, the operator has to check and adjust focus as he progresses through the book, which slows down the procedure. Using a glass plate with fixed focus will accelerate the capture process, and photographing both pages at once will also boost productivity.

This type of work may be performed both by curators or trained photographers.

 

repro solutions

Transparent Film

Most common in this category is work with historic glass negatives, medium and large format negatives, and 24x36mm, but the area covers all different type of transparent film material.

Uniform illumination of the materials, with good color reproduction is mandatory, so that all color information may be retrieved during processing, which often takes place from negative to positive.

The conversion process is often relative and open to interpretation, as the base material for the original transparency material varies. Two different rolls of film may behave very differently, both in the physical characteristics of the original base material and in their subsequent chemical development.

Traditional scanner solutions work with fixed sizes, such as 24x36mm, 6x6 or 6x9, thus limiting the versatility of the equipment substantially. Medium format based solutions work with all sizes, determined only by the light box, which may indeed be very large. If needed, a larger image may be stitched together from several individual high quality captures, to yield extremely high-resolution captures.

There is a tremendous speed advantage in the instant medium format capture over scanning,which may speed up the process by a factor of 200 to 300 or more.

This type of work may be performed both by curators or trained photographers.

repro solutions

Objects and Oversized Materials

This category of Cultural Heritage work covers the area of digitization that typically takes place outside of the photographic studio, when objects are too large or too fragile to move, in exhibition halls, for example.

For very large paintings, it is desirable to work with uniform lighting, but for three-dimensional objects, a more dynamic lighting set-up is necessary, either with natural light or with portable light solutions.

Best results are always obtained by using medium format solutions; either based on a medium format DSLR, or technical cameras with tilt & shift functions.

The fastest workflow solutions are obtained by using an automatic medium format DSLR system like the Phase One 645DF+, in combination with an IQ digital back.

When tilt & shift movements are required, the best quality is obtained with a technical camera, in combination with an IQ digital back.

Trained photographers are most often to be found performing this type of work, as knowledge of natural and artificial lighting is essential.

There is no separate chapter in this guide for this collection type, as this type of work is covered by tools already in use for existing photography.

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HERITAGE EQUIPMENT THROUGH OUR PARTNER NETWORK

Introducing the IQ250

Outstanding image quality

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The new IQ250 digital back is the epitome of capture versatility. It offers outstanding image quality at 50 megapixel resolution throughout its entire ISO range from 100 to 6400. This digital back has got your needs covered irrespective of the photographic challenge at hand.
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Cultural heritage partnership

Cultural heritage partnership

Phase One and Digital Transitions distribution agreement pr
Phase One and Digital Transitions (DT) have signed a global distribution agreement to deliver advanced digitization solutions for cultural heritage preservation imaging projects worldwide. These high-end capture systems offer preservation grade quality reproductions with one of the industry’s most efficient workflows.
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RAW CONVERTER

Capture One Pro 7

Capture One Pro 7
Built on the world's best raw processing engine, Capture One Pro 7 is the professional choice in imaging software. It gives photographers the highly responsive, precision tools they need to create stunning out-of-the-box images from leading high-end cameras.
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