Part of keeping records on museum artifacts involves documenting them with photographs. Photos help to provide a record of an artifact’s condition, as well as a means of identification. So, a good curator or collection manager needs a basic knowledge of photography. Photography has been sort of a hobby of mine since high school, plus I was fortunate enough to have once had an intern who was a photography student. So, while I’m not a professional photographer, I can at least get some decent artifact photos!
|I prefer to use a black background in most of my photos. Here it provides a nice contrast to this light-colored Morning Report.|
|White can be a good background color as well. These Civil War field glasses show up well against this background.|
|I have to get more creative with the larger artifacts. I didn’t have a background cloth large enough for this flag, so I used something else I had on hand – acid-free white tissue paper.|
Sometimes though, I do have to leave the photographs to the professionals. The NMCWM was recently contacted by National Geographic about getting photos of a few of our artifacts for an article they will be doing on Civil War medicine. They sent one of their photographers to take the photos, but of course I was there to handle the artifacts.
|Here’s the National Geographic photographer setting up for the photo shoot. I have to admit, that’s quite a camera! At 80 megapixels it makes my 10 megapixel museum camera look pretty puny.|
|She had quite a bit of equipment to set up before she could photograph any of the artifacts.|
|My job of positioning the artifact was pretty simple by comparison!|
|I can’t wait to see how these shots look when they are published!|
Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.