Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Now in ARTstor: Architecture from Europe and the Middle East by Sites and Photos

ARTstor has announced the recent addition of images depicting architecture from Europe and the Middle East from Sites and Photos, with over 30,000 images now available from this collection. Based in Israel, Sites and Photos' mission is to provide scholars with one of the world's most comprehensive archives of digital photography pertaining to Mediterranean archaeology, archaeology, architecture, and art.

ARTstor is constantly adding new images to its holdings, so it's worthwhile for faculty and students at subscribing institutions to check on their new content from time to time. ARTstor has a publicly available page, Collections: Descriptions & Status, which lists all contributing collections, with the current number of images and percentage of completion. Within the digital library, under the Browse section on the Welcome Page, select Collection to see a list of all of of the content providers. from here you can link directly to a collection in ARTstor, where you are able to browse the images or perform a search within that collection.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photography in Public: Know Your Rights, These Are Your Rights

Especially after the events of 9/11, the Internet abounds with stories about people taking photographs on public property being harassed. Overzealous security guards and policemen have been known to invoke the law inaccurately, sometimes aggressively, in the attempt to dissuade photographers who are legally within their rights.  There are even Flickr groups devoted to this topic, such as the National Photographers' Rights Organization group and the Photography is not a crime group.

Some helpful introductory resources exist for those who are uncertain about where "public" ends and "private" begins.  Bert Krages is an attorney who is a nationally recognized advocate for the right to take photographs in public places.  He has published on his Web site "The Photographer’s Right: A Downloadable Flyer Explaining Your Rights When Stopped or Confronted for Photography."  This one-page guide introduces a basic principle: "The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs." Krages goes on to cite important exceptions to the general rule; permissible subjects; the rights of others to question you, detain you, or confiscate your property; some legal and other remedies in case you are harassed; and how to handle confrontations.  He suggests that photographers may wish to print out and keep a copy in their camera bag.  For those wishing to delve deeper into the subject, Krages has written a book: Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images.

Image: Thomas Hawk, Long Beach Harbor Patrol Say No Photography From a Public Sidewalk, 2008.  Available from Flickr via a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Ultra-High Resolution Images from HAL9000

Italian company HAL9000 has added more images to its portfolio of ultra high-resolution images depicting Italian Renaissance art, with the latest additions coming from the Uffizi Galleries.  A while back I wrote about HAL9000's 16-billion pixel image of Leonardo's Last Supper. Their recent additions include Caravaggio's Bacchus (3.4 billion pixels), Verrocchio and Leonardo's Baptism of Christ (11.7 billion pixels), Leonardo's Annunciation (10.3 billion pixels), Botticelli's  Birth of Venus (20.4 billion pixels) and Primavera (28 billion pixels), and Bronzino's Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo (4.8 
billion pixels).

Nothing compares to standing in a gallery in the Uffizi with one of these masterpieces, but at the same time the features we can see here are not possible to witness in person.  These are the macro views that only a conservator might see in such dazzling detail, like brushstrokes, craquelures, the dirty fingernails of Bacchus, or the light reflecting off of a single pearl. The small price we pay is a little patience while waiting for the pictures to load, and tolerating the 
presence of the Haltadefinizione watermarks.

For more information about HAL9000 and the process used to photograph these works, see this post over at Wired.