This week’s readings focused on images, using Photoshop, and color. Dr. Petrik’s “Managing Engravings” tutorial was a useful step-by-step set of instructions on how to use Photoshop. Since I have no experience whatsoever with it, I found the tutorial, along with the exercise we started in class on Monday, incredibly helpful (and thank you, Stephanie, for all your help!). Errol Morris’s seven articles about the “Case of the Inappropriate Alarm Clock” were some of the most interesting pieces I’ve read this semester. Not to mention all of the FSA photographs are unsettling and, sometimes, upsetting. Yes, the FSA’s purpose and intent was to take evocative photos that were to be used as propaganda for FDR’s administration, but that doesn’t detract at all from the way the photos induce certain emotions. The articles made me feel better about my imminent work with manipulating images in Photoshop, since even simply taking a picture crops out and selects only a specific portion of a reality.

All of the discussion of images spurred me to take stock of what images I have collected so far in my research of the Capitol Disaster. Over break I’ll be visiting repositories, and I know the pictures I take of manuscripts and personal papers will be unusable for purposes other than my own personal research. So far, I have various pages of the Richmond Dispatch and the Petersburg Index saved as PDFs on my desktop. I can use headlines and select small stories to supplement the text in my final project. I also have the entire collection of the Committee on Visitation and Relief saved as PDFs, but they are copyright restricted.

So, apart from the newspapers, what will I be able to put up on my final site? From the 1915 book The Capitol Disaster: A Chapter of Reconstruction in Virginia by George Christian, there are three illustrations: the outside of the capitol after the disaster occurred, the interior of the Hall of Delegates, and a diagram of the courtroom. I also found three sketches of the capitol building from this very early online exhibit from the Library of Virginia. I would need to check their usage rights prior to putting them up online on my final project. In addition, I have a few images from this Harper’s Article that’s been reproduced online. There are also two broadsides held by the Virginia Historical Society that are available digitally. Once again, I’ll have to check their usage policy.

My comment on Nathan’s post

One Comment

  1. Jefferson Byrd

    My reaction to the Morris piece was that some of these so-called fakes are obviously not faked, even if some elements seem to be possibly manipulated by the photographer (like the cow’s head) but then others (like the cattle at the capitol) felt fake to me, though not through any fault of the photographer. In the case of the capitol photo, the caption was misleading.

    But my point is that I felt that it was a matter of where you draw the line. Obviously that line is going to be a subjective thing, depending on the perspective of the observer.

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