September 10, 2005

READER JIM MARTIN EMAILS ABOUT DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY:

I read your PM article, it’s very good, and I recommended it to a friend in Virginia looking for a digicam to use in his work. What amateur-made documentaries and Katrina brought to mind is something I have been considering for a long time: documenting historic homes and buildings.

As inexpensive as digital images are and having the ability to archive them on DVD discs everyone should take the time to photograph, in detail, the histOric structures where they live. The huge damage Katrina wrought to the Gulf Coast is a hard lesson for the rest of the coutry. Most of the old antebellum mansions are totally erased and will never be recontsucted. It would have been nice to have had detailed photos of them for posterity in a safe place far from hurricanes.

There are hundreds of old buildings, some on the National Registry of Historic Sites, which need to be photographed from all angles: up close, inside and outside to show minute detail of construction methods. Molded ceiling plaster motifs come to mind. If any of these structures are damaged by fire or storms and enough remains for restoration, architects and builders will find photos taken as special projects by archivists a great advantage.

A weekend is all many would require, a great Fall project to get started. Go to the mountains and take photos of log cabins when the leaves have changed. Go to historic sites in your hometown, all of them, large and small. They aren’t important until they are gone and it’s too late.

Good suggestion.

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