Today’s blog post comes from Hannah Fenster, summer intern with the Public Affairs Office.
Ever wonder why your photographs of the 1970s are slowly changing color? Hint: They don’t want makeovers or need more fuchsia in their lives. More likely, their aging appearances come from the original film type and from years of storage at room temperature.
The National Archives used an elaborate process to produce top-quality, fully restored photographs for the exhibit “DOCUMERICA: Searching for the Seventies,” which runs through September 8. The National Archives stores the original images as slides in cold storage to minimize the color shift.
I spoke with Michelle Farnsworth, digital imaging technician at the National Archives, to discuss the process of resurrecting the photos for exhibition.
To transfer the images from stored slides to shiny exhibit frames, technicians began by scanning the slides into a digitized format at the Digital Imaging Lab at the National Archives in College Park, MD.
The scanned versions underwent some preliminary color editing. “We weren’t trying to make them look punchier,” says Farnsworth, “we were trying to make them neutral, to match what we saw on the slides or the documents.”
Amanda Perez, exhibit and graphic designer, then enhanced the color and contrast, cleaned up dust spots and scratches, and further neutralized what color shifts had occurred over the years. Editing to this extent … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on August 13, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: 1970s, Amanda Perez, color process, Digital Imaging Lab, documerica, Documerica Project, exhibits, guest post, Hannah Fenster, intern, Michelle Farnsworth, photographs, photography, slides
Jack Corn, a retired photojournalist and professor, came to visit the “Searching for the Seventies” exhibit here at the National Archives, bringing along his family and one of his former students. Why? He was one of the 70 photographers commissioned by the EPA to take photos for the DOCUMERICA project. (His photos from the assignment are available on our Online Public Access research site, as well as in this Flickr set.) I was lucky enough to interview him and his student, D.C. photojournalist Scott Robinson, over the phone.
Starting in 1961, Jack made a point of visiting the Appalachian Mountains to take photographs. He went at least once a year, focusing specifically on one town. As such, he was perfectly prepared to photograph the area for DOCUMERICA.
At the time he went on assignment for the EPA, Jack was working at The Tennessean, based in Nashville. He was on an extended break so that he could focus on photography outside the confines of the newspaper office. “I think I even took a week of vacation time,” he added.
The DOCUMERICA assignment was different from others because he didn’t have a reporter with him. “It made it harder, because reporters take notes and ask questions for you.” Further, his subjects were sometimes “suspicious” of the work he was doing. “They understand when you say … [ Read all ]
Posted by Nikita on April 10, 2013, under The 1970s, Uncategorized.
Tags: 1970s, Appalachia, Chicago Tribune, documerica, EPA, Jack Corn, photography, photos, Scott Robinson, Searching for the Seventies, Seventies, Tennessee, The Tennessean, West Virginia
Amanda’s first step in designing the exhibit was to look for inspirational images. Some of the most intriguing came from the pages of 1970s home design articles, found on an independent blog. What struck Amanda were the supergraphics—large wall decorations popular in the seventies—present in most of the images.
“I remembered them from my childhood, from my parents’ friends’ houses,” she said.
In the exhibit, the supergraphics are meant to create a seventies vibe without detracting from the photographs, which are the true focus.
Amanda chose three theme colors as the exhibit’s three-part organization emerged from the planning process.
First came “Ball of Confusion,” derived from a 1970 song by The Temptations. Jimi Hendrix, who died in 1970, inspired the color purple in the exhibit. According to Amanda, “Purple became a sort of theme.”
When she started looking at warmer colors to balance the purple, she knew that they had to use orange because it was such a staple of the seventies. Orange also fit well with the “Everybody is a Star” section of the exhibit.… [ Read all ]
Posted by Nikita on March 7, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: 1970s, color, design, documerica, exhibit, exhibit design, font, graphic design, Helvetica, Searching for the Seventies, Seventies, supergraphic, wood paneling
Happy American Archives Month! Throughout October, we’re running a series of “spotlights” on the many locations that make up the National Archives. Have you done research at a Presidential Library?
Unlike the other Presidential Libraries, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library—located in Ann Arbor, Michigan—is geographically separate from the museum, which is in Grand Rapids.
Despite the 130 miles separating these two locations, they form a single institution and share one director, as well as artifacts, documents, and other exhibit materials.
The library focuses on analysis and interpretation of history and policy. Ford and his cabinet’s 1974–77 Presidential papers make up the core of the 25-million-page textual collection and the 500,000-item audiovisual collection. Located on the North Campus of the University of Michigan, it features regular temporary exhibits that pull from the library’s collections.
Like all the Presidential Libraries and National Archives locations, the Ford Library is also a great resource for researchers. There are several oral history and artifact collections, extensive textual material, and some audiovisual materials. Research grants are also available: The Gerald R. Ford Scholar Award is given annually in honor of Robert Teeter, and multiple research travel grants are awarded throughout the year to defray travel, living, and photocopy expenses for researchers.
The museum makes the library’s collections and archives more accessible to the public and allow visitors to interact … [ Read all ]
Posted by Nikita on October 19, 2012, under - Presidents, National Archives Near You.
Tags: 1970s, Ann Arbor, Chapstick, Cold War, football, Gerald R. Ford, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, Grand Rapids, kissinger, military, reaserach grants, research, rockefeller, Seventies, University of Michigan, Watergate