Application of Digital Photography and flickr in a Graduate Preservation Program by David Ames and Molly Iker, University of Delaware
Digital technology revolutionized photography and image management and analysis. Today, mastery of digital photography is a basic preservation tool. Because of this, the Master’s Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Delaware created a digitally-based course entitled “Introduction to Architectural Photography.” This presentation describes the course and shows how it used the online image management system, flickr™, for an assignment in which students conducted an architectural survey for the Newark Main Street Program.
Flickr™ is a web-based photo management and sharing platform that gives users one terabyte of free online storage space. Photos can be tagged with descriptive characteristics, also according to the user or client’s preference. These tags can be cross-searched within the user’s Photostream, as well as across the entirety of flickr™, groups, and the user’s contacts’ photos.
After reviewing the principles of architectural photography and learning the mechanics of their digital cameras, the class was assigned a project developed from a request by Newark’s Main Street Program to the Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD) to resurvey Main Street’s architectural resources. Working with a list of buildings, the authors divided students into teams of two, and developed a schedule and individual shoot lists. The authors also created a flickr™ account for the assignment to consolidate the students’ efforts. As students completed their respective shoot lists, they uploaded their photos to flickr™, creating a comprehensive photographic database of Main Street’s architectural resources. Newark’s Design Review Committee uses this visual database to understand the character of the buildings and for design review for specific projects such as façade enhancement grants.
As an educational tool, flickr™ is extremely useful. Students can utilize flickr™ to share their work with their classmates, professors, and even potential employers or clients. The capability to store and display high-quality photos allows professional and amateur photographers alike to use flickr™ to supplement their online portfolios and to interest clients in their work. Additionally, the photo editing software, Aviary, housed within the flickr™ platform, permits users to edit photos online. Flickr™ is student-friendly, as it negates the need to print photographs for critique sessions. Since flickr™ can host high-quality photographs, they can be projected at a large size to allow for ease of viewing and critique. This presentation examines flickr’s™ various uses in the preservation classroom, concludes with a demonstration of the Main Street flickr™ database.