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Archive for September, 2010

One of the eight Fontayne-Porter daguerreotypes of 1848 Cincinnati, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Wired Magazine recently ran a feature on Charles Fontayne and William Porter’s 1848 photographic panorama of Cincinnati’s waterfront, owned by the Cincinnati Public Library. Conservators at the George Eastman House have been working on the eight daguerreotypes that comprise the panorama, and in the process they have done a couple of interesting things. First, using a stereo microscope, they figured out just how far they could zoom without loosing resolution—according to Wired, “the panorama could be blown up to 170 by 20 feet without losing clarity.” They also created high-resolution digital scans of each 6.5” x 8.5” plate and trained a computer to “clean” them of spots left by dust and other deterioration, pixel by pixel. Looking very carefully, the conservation team has been able to discover all sorts of new information embedded in these views: faces in windows, shop signs, the time on the clock tower, clues to a imminent cholera epidemic. The panorama even provides early documentation of Cincinnati’s free black community. On the Wired site you can see all eight images, and zoom in on one of them at 10x. (more…)

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Soul Landscapes

A few weeks before I left Helsinki in June the director of the Helsinki City Museum, Tiina Merisalo, invited my husband and me over for dinner. In the middle of new potatoes and salmon smoked by her husband Matti, the subject of “soul landscapes” came up. This concept was new to me, but as Tiina explains it, your soul landscape is the one that hits you in the center of your chest, they one you always carry with you, the one that immediately feels like home. It is often the landscape of your childhood, but it doesn’t have to be. (more…)

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