As Maggie, Fazila, and I work to digitize collections for our final project, an online exhibit featuring Evanston neighborhood women’s involvement in the women’s suffrage movement, I consider how I can use tools like Photoshop to enhance the quality of images we digitize. Having used photo-editing services such as Gimp, Picasa, and Paint to crop and sharpen photos for a brief documentary video before, I have learned that editing can go a long way to improving the visibility of a photographed or scanned document or image, but can take a lot of time and effort. Often, the digitized format for sources needs some enhancement before its online presentation: scans are often washed out and need sharpening, while photographs of collections often need straightening, cropping, and sharpening to correct glare and other issues. I am curious to see what features Photoshop has to offer when we experiment with it in class next week. Here are some raw images I hope to enhance as a result:
I will work to straighten these images and make them look flat, rotate them so they are upright, crop out the table space around them, sharpen blurred parts, and reduce the glare and shadows covering some of the images.
The risk to enhancing these photographs, however, is that of over-editing. I want to hold true to the integrity of the original picture, especially if someone is referring to the picture as historical evidence. I have an obligation to present the material in a format as true to the appearance of the original source as possible, so I need to be careful that I don’t modify the images to a degree that they lose their historical integrity, and thus their value. The challenge will be to keep them true-to-form, but also visually appealing for exhibit display.
Check in soon to see some edited versions of these photos, and be on the lookout for our final project!
All images photographed by Maggie McClain, courtesy of the Evanston History Center Archival and Photograph Collections. Featured image edited by Kelly Schmidt.