My name is Sue Grinols and as the manager of photo services and imaging, I witness the intersection of art and technology on a daily ground. This is an exciting fourth dimension to exist working in photography. But seeing how technology is changing the field tin can exist scenic, not to mention challenging.
Photographing artwork is a sub-specialty of studio photography. Here at the Museums, nosotros use the same equipment and techniques equally photographers who produce cute images of cars, perfume bottles, leather couches, and the perfectly grilled steak. But instead of trying to capture the steak’due south sizzle or the couch’s inviting warmth, we attempt to bring out the essential character of the artwork while emphasizing its sublime dazzler whenever possible. When nosotros’re not doing that, we can make images that show the difficult, cold details of an object in order to assistance conservators as they work through treating the artwork, or to help curators in their scholarly study of an object. Information technology is this second type of photography that I want to blog about today.
Information technology all started in late 2008 at a technology conference I attended in Washington, D.C. While there, I met Carla Schroer, who told me most a very exciting imaging technology called Reflectance Transformation Imaging, or RTI. I learned that Carla and Mark Mudge co-founded a nonprofit organization called Cultural Heritage Imaging, or CHI, dedicated to developing imaging systems specifically used for preserving cultural artifacts. When we discovered we were both in San Francisco, nosotros decided to come across upwardly and explore the possibility of working together.
What is RTI? It’s a form of photography (with a lot of math backside it) that creates a highly detailed prototype of the surface of an artwork. In a nutshell, y’all take a series digital images, typically 36, of an object using a strobe calorie-free. After each shot, the light is moved slightly and so that information technology illuminates the artwork from a different angle. Special software is and then used to combine those images into a unmarried RTI image, which can be viewed interactively on a computer. By mathematically enhancing the RTI image, an artwork’s features appear in sharp relief in a variety of dissimilar lighting scenarios and you are able to see details of the surface that are otherwise not visible (or very difficult to see).
Dorsum in San Francisco, CHI provided a demonstration of the RTI technique to the Museums’ conservation staff, which generated some bang-up interest. So we decided to attempt it out on ane of our Egyptian coffins.
We liked what we saw. The hieroglyphics were so much easier to read!
Fast forward to late 2009 when CHI won a Kress Grant to determine the way RTI can be of utilise to conservators. Since we are both based in San Francisco, CHI approached the Fine Arts Museums and asked us to work with them on this project.
Adjacent, museum conservators picked out a diverseness of objects to photograph using the RTI technique. The CHI team came to document the whole process armed with their even so cameras, tripods, video cameras, skillful sense of humor, and expertise.
The results were surprising. We could see more details in the artwork than we expected.
Here is a standard collection photo of a 16th-century enamel:
Now, here is the RTI image. You can run across how the artists molded the glass as they were melting it to create a more realistic 3D representation of the figures. The RTI epitome aslo reveals glass deterioration, as indicated by white deposits on the enamel.
Another object we photographed was our Hirosada woodblock impress, which was included in terminal year’s exhibitionJapanesque: The Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism.
With the RTI results, some very subtle details get credible. Notation, for case, how the effigy’s furrowed brow is really embossed to emphasize the expression!
You can see more details about these RTI results in the extended movie (which was on display during the
exhibition) at the bottom of this page.
Here is a standard collection photo of one of our paintings:
Now, hither is a detail from the RTI prototype. You tin can see the brush strokes the creative person used, which speaks to his technique: discover how some of the pigment was applied in the same fashion yous might utilise makeup around an eye.
To make a long story short, the results from the grant were a success! We clearly proved that this technology is a valuable tool for conservators. CHI created a documentary about the process, which features many of our conservators.
Next on the list of objects to be photographed using this technique is one of our fifth-century Greek
pelikes. Hither is the standard collection photograph of the object:
Check dorsum soon to see this pot in RTI particular!
Posted by: Fusiontr.com
Originally posted 2022-02-13 00:33:21.