Europeana Space Photo pilot: Innovate your photographic heritage … and your future business!

Europeana Space

Europeana Space

The web and the smartphone have changed photography irrevocably. No need to explain that selfies, instagram, GoPro’s and the sheer ubiquity of the image have completely transformed the place of photography in our lives. It also had a profound effect on professional photography.

It is true that classic business models have suffered from this: news photographers now have to compete with thousands of citizens ready to share their smartphone pictures with news outlets, often having the first scoop on events. The classic photo print shop experiences difficult times, and no need to buy illustrated books or to pay for image rights when you can download any picture of about anything for free on the web. In particular, the IP-based business models underlying the photo industry are under strong pressure, forcing photo archives, photo agencies, museums and publishers to innovate or perish.

But of course the new situation also holds tremendous opportunities. Some of those are currently underexploited. In the EuropeanaSpace Photo pilot, we are zooming in on the fact that currently there is an enormous wealth of photographic heritage from trusted sources available on platforms such as Europeana, Wikimedia Commons, Flickr commons and the likes, where high digital quality is paired with useful metadata. In the EuropeanaPhotography project, some of the Espace partners contributed to put almost half a million images from early photography on Europeana, all digitized to the highest standards. Not only are these images true to the source, the state-of-the-art digitization means that the maximum information in the analogue source was translated into the digital file. This was demonstrated in the exhibition “All our Yesterdays”, where early photographs from this collection were reprinted in a breathtakingly high quality rendering a dynamic range that was never before available. We can now see these images in a quality hitherto unseen, including by the original photographer. In this way, the past comes to life in a very peculiar way.

Gaston Paris - Young women at a fair 1935

Silver gelatine glass plates reprinted in HDR with very high resolution give a totally new photo experience, with these beautiful girls laughing at you from decades away.
Gaston Paris | location unknown (France), 1935 Young women at a fun fair. Roger-Viollet collections © Gaston Paris / Roger-Viollet

And yes, partners such as KU Leuven, with its Digital Lab and ESAT/Visics research group, and iMinds, who are involved in many aspects of digital image standards and in digital restoration of high value paintings, are at the top of innovation in image digitization. But this is not the kind of innovation we are aiming at in Europeana Space. Innovation is maybe a word used to cheaply, but what is sure is that it covers different meanings and can come in many guises. There is of course the innovation that comes directly from scientific research, such as valorisation. And there is innovation coming from bright ideas. Where the first is more and more the result of careful planning and dependent on a steady stream of resources, the latter are more difficult to plan, there is always some serendipity involved. But these innovations alone do not necessarily translate into new practices, in new markets, in new revenue streams. The photography pilot aims at innovation in photo agencies, archives, museums and education through reuse of the photographic content available on Europeana and similar open repositories, mixed with copyrighted and user-generated content stemming from modern day photographic practices.

A more durable and radical impact on innovation often comes from the availability of new sources, new raw materials. It is our opinion that the digital cultural heritage now available through sources such as Europeana (with >30 million objects) is such a new source. This is also the conviction of Europeana itself, which wants to stimulate the reuse of the contents it brokers trough Europeana Creative.

The Europeana Space Photography pilot wants to contribute to this effort, as this will lead to a much deeper innovation in the long run: how can users become more proactive in the reuse of digital photographic heritage in Europeana? How can they re-appropriate these contents and the past they represent in their current and future cultural practices? How can this increase in the number of proactive users lead to the emergence of real creative industries that build new business models on top of it?

Demonstrators

To this end, the Photography pilot started with the development of demonstrators, which aim to show developers what possibilities are available on 3 different levels. First of all there is a multitude of already available apps that can already be used to innovate existing image businesses. We showed how e.g. the Blinkster app, using image similarity recognition algorithms, can be used to enhance photo exhibition experiences. This is further explored in the Espace museum pilot. We carefully review what are the possible showstoppers in applying these already available technologies to innovate what is happening in exhibitions. The innovation we are talking about here is not a technological innovation, it is more focused on innovation of procedures and approaches within the museum exhibition world.

In a second demonstrator, we want to show how people can create innovative new ways of social activities based on the remixability of digital photographic cultural heritage. We use early photography images from Europeana, and create challenges and events where people are invited to take their own photos of old scenes in a city. In particular, we use photos of early twentieth century Leuven and ask people to look for the same streets and scenes and try to reinterpret them with their smartphones. This demonstrator makes use of the in museum and cultural heritage institutions very popolar Omeka front-end, combined with the Espace back-end.

In a third demonstrator, we will use these old and new images to create augmented reality experiences, where old and new images can be overlayed and mixed to create stunning  visual experiences such as instant time-travel.

The only aim of the demonstrators is to set the stage for a hackathon event on 25-27 February 2016 in Leuven, where developers and content providers are invited to test new ideas. To test some ideas already, the Photo pilot participated in the Espace TV Hackathon in Amsterdam, teaming up with Noterik and World Press Photo to propose a “Photo expo 2.0” app, using the Noterik multiscreen Toolkit.

Again, these are not innovations in itself. What we aim for, is to study what are the pitfalls, the lacking elements in the chain that make or break the possible emergence of radically new practices. We already identified two major elements that can enable the creation of more genuine interaction, and that are currently lacking in the Europeana environment: the possibility for user login and a protected space for copyrighted content.

User login

First of all, the Europeana portal as it is now is a first generation web application that doesn’t allow for users to login. This limits severely the possibilities for users to become engaged on the one hand, but more importantly it prohibits the content providers to glean interesting knowledge about who is using their content when. Europeana Space provides the possibility for users to login and to save their own data on the Espace server, combined with both open content and copyrighted content made available in the Europeana Space Content space. The Espace API will provide functionalities to exploit these user login data, with full protection of privacy and rights.

Protected space

Part of the content available through Europeana is Public Domain labelled, or dedicated for reuse through Creative Commons licenses. However, one of the biggest showstoppers and impediments of reuse is that much of the content remains copyrighted. This is not only for commercial reason: many archives do not want commercial reuse of their content for moral integrity reasons: they feel their cultural heritage deserves respects and should not be alienated.

To make it possible for innovators to experiment with new applications before having to negotiate for the rights on content, Espace develops a “protected space” both legally and technically: it aims to complement the interesting work already being done by Europeana in the context of the Rights Labeling Campaign, by adding more refined reuse metadata. The whole point is that in creative industries new IP is created adding on top of existing IP from content owners. Because of the unclarity of this relation many content owners are reluctant to share their materials online, fearing that other business will make profit with their content without the content owner sharing in the revenue. This was clear in the EuropeanaPhotography project, where it proved very difficult to convince current photo businesses to open up their content for reuse. In Europeana Space, Photoconsortium members add content to the Espace content space for innovative reuse in applications.

These two elements combined, the user login functionality and the protected space, aim to create a context where creativity can flourish, and new business models can be explored jointly by proactive citizens, creative industries and content owners and caretakers such as musea and archives.

In the Hackathon, the tools from Europeana Labs will be provided together with the Europeana Space API, which gives access to the protected space. Open tools will be provided to connect CMS software such as Omeka to this backend environment. Besides access to the open content, the possibility to upload and manage user generated content and access to copyrighted Europeana Space content will be available to developers. The Blinkster application will be available as well as augmented reality tools and specific image processing algorithms. The challenge will be to bring all these elements together in such a way that content providers and users meet in innovative ways mediated by the content. There will be clear guidance into how IPR issues can be anticipated and monitored throughout the whole design process.

The kind of innovation we are aiming at is innovation in the long run, contributing to a basic layer that brings creative cultural activity to a new, sustainable level.  We like to call this “tidal’ innovation: making sure that when a new massive availablility wave occurs, as is the case now with abundant photographic content flowing from Europeana, it is picked up so that wave after wave the there is more impact on the coastline. More than hoping to yield from the hackathon that single bright idea that could become in itself a new micro business model, it is more the general strengthening of the intermediate layers required for many of these new bright ideas to emerge that is our core concern. Finding the links between the photographic heritage content, the wide variety of general public, amateurs, pro-ams and professional developers through an intermediate software architecture that provides real role identification and task burden sharing while at the same time improving transparency on rights is the real challenge. The big issue with the “Long Tail” is not so much the small group of pioneers and neither it are the massive amount of passive followers. It is the intermediate groups in between that link the bright leaders to the masses. This is the place for innovative, sustainable, professionally maintained infrastructures. In this way Europeana Space hopes to contribute to the overall success and relevance of Europeana.

Posted in Europeana

Early Photography and the Digital World

DSC01036

Frederik Van den Broeck pouring the excess collodion in a glass

There is unmistakenly a boom in the rediscovery of early photography these days, not only with several exhibitions taking place, such as “Salt and Silver“, in  Tate Britain, and the travelling exhibition “All our Yesterdays“, now in Copenhagen,  but also with amateurs and photographers delving in this niche market, making portraits with wet collodion techniques, both tintypes and glass plates.

With the ubiquity of smartphone photography, people are looking for a deeper photographic experience and what is better suited than an image slowly appearing on the glass? Early photography seems to align with a deeper “vintage” revival, where old techniques are rediscovered and cherished for their often specific imperfections, in a quest for “authentic experiences”. We see this with the revival of the vinyl phonograph, the reel-to-reel tape recorders, the polaroid photo etc. It all seems related to the feeling that the digital commodifies everything, that it also “flattens” out all relevant differences and transforms them to one, uniform and narrowband, essentially boring, information stream.

Of course, some criticism against this retro movement is appropriate: one can debate whether this nostalgia is really leading to more authentic experiences, or whether it is not again a commercialising of trendy lifestyles rather than a genuine quest for lost realities. One could hold that this revival is rather a burial party, at the very moment we realize that the digital era irreversibly leaves behind the analog world as we knew it, we seem to gather a last time around these techniques, cherishing our golden memories. Many theoreticians of photographic art are inclined to see no real innovation into this essentially nostalgic movement, and are more eager to learn how the digital will evolve photography truly as an art.

Well, I think we are judging to fast. I think there is more to the revival of early photographic techniques than simply nostalgia. This misconception, that the analog is just a thing of the past, stems from a misunderstanding of digitization, as I will try to explain. While you can take any picture you like with a smartphone, this of course in itself does not really amount to a proper digitization of an analog object. When we digitize old photographs, eg, many issues come to mind. The first one is: which original? Imagine well known photos published in magazines that went around the globe, being reprinted all over. It can be quite a challenge to know from which original the first widespread reproduction was made. Was it from a print? Or from a (glass) negative? Suppose that you have both, are you going to reproduce the print or use the negative? From a digitization point of view, there are many arguments to choose the negative. And this is what we did for very large projects such as EuropeanaPhotography.

You will quickly discover that a photographer might have had many negatives of the same “photo” to choose from, certainly in the age of nitro celluloid film and beyond. But that is not the only issue. With current techniques, it is possible to retrieve a much “fuller” image from the negative than with old print techniques, such as an albumen contact print or a calotype positive. So you might render a photo experience of a much higher quality than  the photo that at that moment in history became famous. Again, this is exactly what we did in EuropeanaPhotography: we used digitization processes very akin to High Dynamic Range techniques to get the fullest dynamic range possible out of the negative.

But it doesn’t stop there. It is quite naive to think that you can digitize any old photo technique in the same way. Well, yes you can, but the accuracy of your digital representation will be hugely different, even at the same level of digital precision, eg at the same resolution, color space and depth. Look at the two images below:

CHAPEAU DE PAUL POIRET

Chapeau de Paul Poiret (1879-1944), couturier et décorateur français. Paris, 1925.
BORIS LIPNITZKI (1887-1971)

Retrat d'estudi d'una dona asseguda.

Retrat d’estudi d’una dona asseguda. Desconegut
Ajuntament de Girona

The first image is obtained from a silver gelatin glassplate, captured through backlight on a lightbox, the second is a tintype, for which backlighting is simply not an option. The latter has been captured using floodlight. Whereas it is possible to obtain a very high dynamic range with the first technique, it is very difficult to do justice to the tintype photo without using reflective imaging techniques, since a tintype object has very different properties compared with a glass plate in the way it lets through or reflects light. When we would show such images in a print exhibition, the first would look certainly better than a possible original print, the second would most certainly look very inferior to the original metal object. So, different digitization processes are needed to render different analog techniques, and the same state of the art doesn’t allow you to visualize the photos at the same standard. It was one of the reasons we predominantly showed silver gelatin dry plates at the “All our yesterdays” exhibition. We could render those at breathtaking quality, which we never could do with say a daguerreotype or tintype.

For a metal plate photo, we would need a rendering that allows to look at the image from different angles, so as to see the object in its true complexity. So digitizing it and showing it on screen or on print will not do justice to this particular photographic object. The mistake is to think the digital image is a representation of the original photo and its properties. It never is. It is a rendering of the information obtained from the original bearer. It are two distinct processes: the serialization to obtain the digital master, which contains the image information, and the rendering of a representation, a visualisation. The latter can be on screen, on print, even projected onto clouds. The rendering algorithms can evolve independently from the serialization. So a visualisation of a jpeg file in a few years might be superior to what we are able to show now. There is still a lot of evolution possible in the way the popular industry standard JPEG can evolve to better represent early photographic images.

The point is, the “original” is also a rendering of the photo. By other means. Captured in an analog, continuous medium. So the digital master is a representation, a model, of what is represented by the original (series of) photo(s). This model is always an approximation, it is not a one-to-one copy. The digital master itself will never be a “clone” of the original photographic object – it just holds the information -, and we are still very far from the day in which the digital master will allow us to reproduce a clone from the original daguerreotype, tintype or even silver gelatine glass plate. In this sense the daguerreotype still remains a unique object. So part of the reason analog photography isn’t dead, is not so much nostalgia, but the simple fact we did not yet manage to serialize it properly yet.

Of course this sounds like a futile remark: we are using digital master files every day to reproduce pictures in very good quality. This occurs millions of times a day by millions of users. So the digital has reached a point where the “undigitized”, the rest fragment that is not captured or rendered in the digital reproduction is so marginal that it is beyond the discriminatory powers in our daily practices.

But that doesn’t change that the analog experience is and stays also very different than the one mediated by digitization. Holding a daguerreotype in the hand, this beautiful, reflecting metal object in a glass frame, is and stays far from the experience offered by mediation of the digital master. But on the other hand, the digital master allows for visualisations to explore new avenues, new materials, new bearers, new formats. We, eg., showed the mostly 5×4″ photos in a much larger, more than 30″ wide format, on high contrast paper.

Retrat d'estudi

Retrat d’estudi d’una dona jove amb un llibre a les mans. Desconegut. Ajuntament de Girona

By separating the digitization process from the rendering, we can develop freely our rendering approaches and do things with early photography that have never been seen before. E.g. we can make multiple shots from a silver gelatine glass plate, creating a HDR image that renders the dynamic range of the negative to its fullest potential. Today, we can then render these images on screen or paper with a quality that was never seen before.

Photography definitely and irrevocably took a digital turn. The digital native is the present and future of photography. Yet our knowledge of the analog world is not yet complete, and there are still many things to do in digitization of early photographic heritage. The quest to understand the magic of chemistry and optics as it was exemplified from the very beginnings in photographic techniques as distinct as the daguerreotype and calotype hasn’t ended, and still hides an unexplored treasure trove.

Photoconsortium has the goal and ambition to explore this knowledge, to go beyond the current state-of-the-art in digitizing early photographic techniques.

Fred Truyen, summer 2015.

Posted in Europeana

Hacking Culture Bootcamp Amsterdam

It was a great weekend, really, at the Europeana TV Hackathon at De Waag, in the offices of Waag Society.

De Waag

De Waag Amsterdam

In Europeana Space, we will do 6 Hackathons, with the aim of selecting winners for a Remix monetizing event in London. EuropeanaTV was the first one, and I can say: what a launch! On Friday, it was time to get to know each other and to make teams. There were plenty of developers, and there were nice API’s and toolkits available, such as Noterik’s multiscreen toolkit. Cultural heritage experts from the Institute of RBB, Luce, and Sound and Vision  shared their knowledge on content and heritage innovation. But there was also help on business modelling with the input of Simon Cronshaw.

Photo expo 2.0

Photo Expo 2.0 team at work …

I was in fact going there as an observer: I will be hosting the photography hackathon in Leuven (save the date: 25-27 February 2016!).  But as it happens, there was also Paul Ruseler from World Press Photo, so I decided to join his team and hack the TV hackathon with a photo concept! We setup a team with Rutger Ronzendal and Pieter Van Leeuwen from Noterik. The idea was to change the photo exhibition experience by using a multitude of large and small screens allowing for interactivity.

Hackathon image

Hackathon groups are forming … with some advise from Noterik CTO Daniel Ockeloen, and the approving eye of Dr. Tulip!

It went off for a frenzy 3 days, of which unfortunately I couldn’t attend the last one. The mix of good technology and content support with real business concept advise propelled the participants to think outside of the box and to come up with ever more challenging solutions. The winners are ART(F)inder, Bosch and Mnemosyne. Read more about it here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Blinkster app demo in “All our Yesterdays”, Heverlee, Leuven March 2015

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Gallery

Lift off: from EuropeanaPhotography to EuropeanaSpace

EuropeanaPhotography, a digitization project by 19 partners to deliver >430.000 images of early photography to Europeana, is completed. At the moment, users can browse through 448,811 photos on the Europeana portal.

Christina Morfova and Lyudmila Prokopova with their students at home Morfova.

Christina Morfova and Lyudmila Prokopova with their students at home Morfova 1930-1936.
NALIS Foundation
Public Domain Marked

During this 3 year journey, we discovered the unknown content of eachother’s archives and unearthed images of exceptional beauty. The collection as a whole gives a very complete overview of early photography – with the exception perhaps of Daguerreotypes, since there is another project working on this. But more importantly, it shows a hitherto untold story of European history, in particular how city lives evolved, as was put on display in our exhibition “All our Yesterdays“. The fact that we were a consortium spanning from Kiev to Barcelona and from London to Cyprus, together with the particular effort to explore new, often privately owned collections in Central Europe, allowed us to show aspects of European history that are not fully appreciated in all corners of the continent, and are most certainly not yet well represented in history schoolbooks throughout Europe.

Baku (Azerbaijan) street passers-by.

Baku (Azerbaijan) street passers-by.
Marionis Lithuanian Literature Museum
Public Domain Marked

EuropeanaPhotography was a digitization project, with a very focused work package structure. As such, it’s innovation lies not so much in its technological advance – since for digitization you use proven technologies – but in the impact that large digital collections have on different uses. The availability of large, curated, consistent thematic collections allows for a host of new applications to emerge. About 95.000 images from the Collection are Public Domain Marked, allowing reuse without conditions.

Europeana Space

Europeana Space

Exactly this aspect is what we are exploring in Europeana Space: the reuse of content from Europeana and other similar sources. In the photography pilot, we will explore new, innovative ways to reuse high-end photographic heritage. A first demo was with the Blinkster app near the end of the “All our Yesterdays” exhibition in Leuven. The app automatically detects the work a user is pointing at (see gallery) with his or her smartphone, and shows the corresponding caption. After the museum visit, the user has a small database with the images he/she retrieved during the exhibition.

Mechelsetraat Leuven

De Mechelsestraat in Leuven
Stadsarchief Leuven
Rights Reserved

A second pilot involves storytelling with Europeana content. Users can login to our ESpace environment, search for images on Europeana and other public sources, make a selection and build a story with them. This can be shared with other users. Users will also be able to upload their own images into the mix, using a CC-BY-SA license. For this, we use an Omeka frontend which is linked to both Europeana (through the Europeana API) and the ESpace API. In a third phase, we will add augmented reality functionality to these images, allowing users to superimpose old photographs on new ones. For this, we are using photographs from the Leuven City Archive, which also contributes to Europeana. Interested in other examples of EuropeanaSpace pilots? Have a look at Photomediations.net, an Open Book!

Follow news about EuropeanaSpace on DigitalMeetsCulture.net, the very popular magazine of partner Promoter. EuropeanaPhotography finished on January 31st, 2015. A new membership organization was formed, that will continue the work: Photoconsortium.

Photoconsortium

Photoconsortium

Posted in Europeana

EuropeanaPhotography Final Conference Day 2

The second day of the EuropeanaPhotography Final Conference was dedicated to Europeana and its family of projects. James Morley gave an interesting overview of new initiatives Europeana is engaged in, and highlighted the importance of a high quality online experience for the user. This will be enhanced by IIIF technology, now being implemented by some large collections.

The highlight of the day was the enthusing talk by Sofie Taes, curator of the Leuven localization of the All our Yesterdays exhibition. A parade of breath-taking images from Leuven’s City archive was displayed, unravelling the story of “Trading Spaces / Changing Places”, the concept behind the expo. The perfectly choreographed presentation was testimony of the enormous, meticulous work that went in the curation of this exhibition, developed in collaboration with the City archive Leuven and Erfgoedcel Leuven.

DSC00502

It also revealed that the City archive does host a collection of images that can stand its ground in the face of the collections of the prestigious partners in EuropeanaPhotography. Captivating moments of past city life stole the hearts of the audience.

Dressed up schoolchildren ca. 1925

Dressed up schoolchildren ca. 1925. Stadsarchief Leuven

This was followed by a collection pitch of both Leuven collections, the collection of the University and the one from the archive. The university collection is very unique, in the sense that it are all images taken with a didactic purpose, to define the canon of Art History. As such, it shows us what belonged to this canon before the second world war.

Four Europeana related project presentations rounded up the morning session, with presentations of Europeana Space, Europeana Fashion, Daguerreobase and Riches.

In the second keynote of the conference, Simon Tanner from King’s college London talked about “The Impact of Digitization on Photographic Heritage“. The slides of his presentation are available on slideshare. It addressed many issues as to how museums and collection holders can cope with the digital revolution and adapt their business models to it.

Simon Tanner

Simon Tanner

This was followed by a much appreciated lecture by Bruno Vandermeulen, digitization expert of KU Leuven, on his photography for the archaeological Sagalassos project.

Charlotte Waelde concluded the lecture series with a talk about “Digitising photographs: thinking around originality“, where she addressed novel ideas about IPR, an issue of great concern in the EuropeanaPhotography project, to which we are seeking solutions in Europeana Space.

During the day further collection pitches were shown by Divadelni Ustav, SGI,  ICIMSS,  NALIS, Alinari, MHF and PolFoto.

Holger Damgaard | 01/01/1908 The first image ever published in a Danish newspaper by a staff photographer (Holger Damgaard for the newspaper Politiken).

Holger Damgaard | 01/01/1908
The first image ever published in a Danish newspaper by a staff photographer (Holger Damgaard for the newspaper Politiken).

Read more about EuropeanaPhotography on DigitalMeetsCulture.net.

Posted in Digital Humanities, Europeana

EuropeanaPhotography Final Conference: day 1

The EuropeanaPhotography project ended 31st of January 2015. To mark the occasion, we organized a two-day conference in Leuven on Thursday 29 and Friday 30th of January, under the theme “The Impact of Digitization on Photographic Heritage: Memories Reframed“. The conference opened with a keynote by Elizabeth Edwards on “Shifting Assemblages: Scale, Scope and Intensity in the Practice of History“. Elizabeth took mass digitization to task with a plea for “close reading” inspired by Moretti.

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards

Using examples of colonial photography, she showed the importance of a careful, historical look at the different meaning layers in photos. The lecture kicked off a series of lectures that all seemed to revolve around the issues addressed in the keynote, as an unfolding, spiralling dialogue that kept everyone glued to his seat until the end of the first day. A nothing short of brilliant overview of early photography by John Balean of TopFoto was followed by Fred Truyen’s explanation of the choices made in EuropeanaPhotography, where the possibilities of digitization to “reframe” and rediscover the early photos were discussed. Indeed, the enlarged, crystal clear reprints in the exhibition, with blistering dynamic range and razor sharp detail, obtained by directly processing the information from the glassplate have little to do with the nostalgic, somewhat yellowish appearance of original prints.

After an overview of the project by Antonella Fresa from Promoter srl, the afternoon was a mix of lectures and “collection pitches”, in which partners displayed their contributions to the total of 430.000 images that EuropeanaPhotography contributed to Europeana. Prof. Jan Baetens caught attention with his provocative lecture “Against Crowdsourcing”, in which he highlighted some serious issues in the quest to gather crowdsourced input, as is now hyping in many digitization projects.

Jan Baetens

Jan Baetens

While Stephen Brown and David Croft showed a smart algorithm to search for similar images in a collection, Alexander Supartono stunned the audience with his “Re-Visiting the Colonial Archive in the Era of Web 2.0“, where he showed how Indonesian artists re-appropriate colonial heritage in an unsettling way that undoubtedly must come as a shock to many archivalists: current Indonesian people are superimposed on colonial pictures, disclosing and disrupting the colonial setting. A better vindication of Elizabeth’s keynote was difficult to imagine. More so, it is a perfect example of the innovative “creative reuse” that Europeana wants to stimulate!

Alexander Supartono shows an example

Alexander Supartono shows an example

At the end of this long day Joanna Zylinska’s enthousiasm and rethorical talent gave the audience a much needed energy boost. Her Photomediations project is a very convincing example of Open publishing and how this unleashes new creativity.

During the day collections were presented by TopFoto, Lithuanian Art Museums, IMAGNO, CRDI, Parisienne de Photographie, Arbejdermuseet ,United Archives and Gencat.

Read more about EuropeanaPhotography on DigitalMeetsCulture.net.

Posted in Digital Humanities, Europeana

Opening “All our Yesterdays” in Pisa

On Friday April 11th we had the official opening of the exhibition “All our Yesterdays” in the beautifully restored Palazzo Lanfranchi in Pisa. The Palazzo is home to the new “Museo Della Grafica“. Image

After some welcome words by Antonella Fresa (Promoter), the major of Pisa Marco Filippeschi and the director of the museum Alessandro Tosi, the patronage of Dario Danti, the chancelor of Culture, guests were able to see the exceptional exhibition curated by Pietro Masi (Promoter) and Sofie Taes (KU Leuven). In close collaboration with the partners Sofie Taes, who authored the catalog, distilled the several subthemes of the overall concept, while Pietro Masi and the Promoter team arranged a sometimes magical positioning of the images in the several rooms of the exhibition. With the help of the European Union in the form of a CIP-project “EuropeanaPhotography“, top photo archives, musea and agencies from Europe were able to digitize images from early photography (1839-1939), involving techniques such as Daguerreotype, Glass negative and Albumen print into very high resolution images (digitzed up to 100 Megapixel), that were her printed on high quality cotton paper in sizes up to 80×70 cm.

Wiebe de Jager, representative for Europeana, stressed the value of these collections for the goals of Europeana in his presentation.

All our Yesterdays

All our Yesterdays opening

Viewing these top photographs at such a high resolution and with full dynamic range, gives a totally new experience and a different experience to the historic event. As one of the guests pointed out: “it is as if I can touch the people on the images”.

This the way we want digital techniques to be transformational: while being true to the original and conveying this causal link with the past event, the new digital representation – in itself a new work of art – breaks the original “framing” of the perception and triggers a re-experience of what photographically mediated experience is all about.

Entrance expo

Entrance expo

For the theme of the exhibition the partners chose to go for vernacular photography, highlighting city life as it was witnessed by the best photographers. So rather than well-known historical events the focus is on people on the streets, experiencing joy, leisure, hardships, work. It is something we hope the visitors will relate to. For that very reason the exhibition also hosts a digitisation studio, and we encourage the public to bring their old vintage photographs. In the exhibition a very nice amateur collection is displayed.

Read more also on DigitalMeetsCulture.

Posted in Digital Humanities, Europeana | Tagged

All our Yesterdays

All our Yesterdays

EuropeanaPhotography Exhibition

Image | Posted on by | Tagged

EP Paris IPR Workshop

Photo: Boris Lipnitzki

© Boris Lipnitzki – Roger Viollet

On  Thursday 14 and Friday November 15th 2013, we had an IPR workshop for EuropeanaPhotography in Paris, organized by Nathalie Doury of Parisienne de Photographie, in Hôtel Villa Beaumarchais,  rue des Arquebusiers, near Parisienne de Photo premises.

Morning IPR sesion In the morning we had a presentation by Angelina Petrovic, paralegal consultant & an experienced specialist of  IPR related to photography, and Stefan Biberfeld, both with long previous experience with Corbis,  on the basic principles of Intellectual Property Rights applied to photography, and with a focus on photographers & third party rights (artists copyright, personality rights, etc…)

Morning WorkshopThis was followed by a most interesting Q&A session in the afternoon. We also discussed case studies based on examples provided by EuropeanaPhotography participants. Participants were invited to send questions in advance, as well as specific images or series of images they would like expert advice on. Besides the copyrights also moral rights and neighboring rights were lively discussed. It became clear that the whole discussion on Orphan Works has a serious impact on the project. True to our motto we discussed the case by looking at photo images, since we never have a meeting without doing exactly that!

Courtesy: United Archives

Courtesy: United Archives

Before dinner we had the opportunity to visit the photographic collection of Musée Carnavalet. This museum is dedicated to the history of Paris. Its photographic collection includes many masterpieces, including an impressive collection of works by Atget & Marville For more info on the collections : http://www.carnavalet.paris.fr/en/collections/photography.

At the musée Carnavalet, we had a close look at the following magnificent panoramic Daguerreotype :

http://www.carnavalet.paris.fr/fr/collections/panorama-le-pont-neuf-le-louvre-et-le-quai-de-la-megisserie and many images from a.o. Charles Marville and Eugène Atget.

On Friday, Dimitrios Tsolis joined us, as well as Julia Fallon from the Europeana Foundation, who was so kind to discuss with us on outstanding issues concerning rights labelling in EuropeanaPhotography.

There is an attractiveness for private photo agencies and museums to put their images onto Europeana, because of the increased exposure. But of course, there is some hesitation to put high-resolution, printable images without watermarks online, since this is often the product being sold or charged for. Just like the photo-agencies who earn their money out of licensing their images, many museums are also encouraged by subsidizing governments to ask a fee for higher quality downloads or prints.

Julia FallonJulie Fallon gave a much appreciated overview of what is in the pipeline at Europeana. It was clear that what is planned not always matches the expectations of the EP partners, and a better representation in the developmment of these plans is certainly advisable.

Dimitrios Tsolis showed the results of the survey held amongst EP partners on IPR. From this it emerges that about 21% of what will be contributed through EuropeanaPhotography to Europeana are Orphan Works.

RecommendationsThe main issue is still the public domain mark: we understand that when a work is legally in the public domain, copyrights have expired and it is understandable that Europeana wants to inform the public about this, since this could foster reuse. But if this means that we should also provide a high-res image for free (as the newly discussed recommendations imply), than we are simply out of business: how can photo-agencies, archives and museums be remunerated for the care-taking of this heritage and the services they deliver? The balance between free access to works deemed in the public domain and the necessity to have a sustainable economic model for the image caretakers and service providers, whether they are private or publicly funded, requires some more debate.

There was also much confusion about the Orphan Works directive , how OHIM would support this and what it would mean for EuropeanaPhotography partners. Since the procedure to get the Orphan Works copyright exemption seems cumbersome and unrealistic, many partners around the table felt little appetite to do the effort, and are assessing their risks. We discussed tentatively what role Europeana itself could take up in this matter.

Anyway we felt that in EuropeanaPhotography we should look for existing best practices in “diligent search”, and if needed develop our own set of guidelines of what we deem a best professional effort to determine the author rights of a presumed orphan work.

But nothing could spoil the joy of having the first EuropeanaPhotography images online at Europeana!

In the afternoon I took the train home; not the one below, but as a train enthusiast I prefer these now classic electrolocs over the slick Thalys!

Classic SNCF Loc BB 7200

Classic SNCF Loc BB 7200

Posted in Digital Humanities, Europeana | Tagged