Indo-Pacific Textile project

The first project in the Imaging Lab is in full swing!   Indo-Pacific textiles from the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) are being photographed in Studio 2 with a camera mounted on the catwalk. This is unique because it is the first time we have had a studio this large to photography items from this height.  The catwalk allows photographers to mount cameras anywhere between 15 feet and 17 feet in the air which allows them to cover a larger area when spreading items out on the floor.  Here is a little background information on the project:

Established in 2009, the Department of Indo-Pacific Art oversees the newest collection at the Yale University Art Gallery and has three areas of strength: ethnographic sculpture, ancient Javanese gold, and Indonesian textiles.

The textile collection holds about 600 textiles from Indonesia, mainly collected by Robert Holmgren and Anita Spertus. This group is of exceptional quality and ranks among the finest in any museum. The collection includes particularly superb textiles from South Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Borneo, and it includes rare and unique weavings that reflect the history of Indonesian designs.

The Indo-Pacific textiles were selected to be photographed in their entirety as part of the annual project photography to meet an increasing demand from scholars and the curator for good-quality images. YUAG plans to publish a book on the collection.

Coordinated by the Visual Resources department at YUAG, contract photographer Chris Gardner and a team of 6 Gallery staff are photographing the collection in high-resolution digital format over a seven week period. Once photographed the images will be stored in the YDC2 Content Management Platform  and made publically available on the YUAG’s website and through Discover Yale Digital Content. Most all of the objects photographed will also be available for download from the YUAG website as either PowerPoint sized JPEGs or 20MB Tiff files.

Chris Gardner, contract photographer for the Indo-Pacific textile project, makes adjustments to the camera mounted to the catwalk so that he can accurately photograph the textiles laid out on the floor below.

Ben Diebold and Jac Parker from YUAG carefully unwrap the Indo-Pacific textiles and make sure the correct barcodes are associated with the correct textiles before they get photographed.

Jac Parker, from YUAG, carefully unrolls an Indo-Pacific textile onto vinyl dance floor material while removing the acid free tissue paper that was placed between the layers of the fabric.

Chris Gardner and Ben Diebold move the textile into place so that it will be in the right position under the camera to be photographed.

Chris Gardner and Susan Kiss photograph an Indo-Pacific textile using a camera mounted to the catwalk 17 feet in the air.

Chris Gardner and Susan Kiss carefully place the Indo-Pacific textile on the acid free tissue paper so that it can then be rolled up onto the acid free tube for storage. By rolling the textiles, instead of folding them, the textiles remain crease-free.

Some of the textiles are large and need two people to unroll them. Ben Diebold and Elizabeth Solak position the textile so that it will unroll directly under the camera that is mounted to the catwalk above.

Once the textile is laid out, any foreign fibers need to be removed before the textile is photographed. Here, Elizabeth Solak removes these unwanted fibers with a pair of tweezers. Ben Diebold makes sure that the textile lies flat for the shot.

With the help of two art handlers, Ruth Barnes, Curator of Indo-Pacific Art, lays out an exceptionally long textile in a snake-like pattern in preparation for a photo.

Grand Opening!

On April 4th, we celebrated the opening of the Yale Digital Collections Center Imaging Lab and the Research Labs of the Center for Conservation and Preservation. We gave tours of the Labs and, in the Imaging Lab, had demonstrations of our 3D scanners, robotics book scanners and vacuum copy stand.  We also showed off our color proofing areas, cove wall, easel and our large catwalk!  With approximately 200 visitors, the opening was a huge success!  Now that we are open, we are ready to scan, photograph and image cultural heritage objects.  Lights! Cameras at the ready!  Shoot!


There was a bustling crowd of approximately 200 at the ribbon cutting ceremony excited to get a tour of the new Imaging Lab!

Scott Strobel, Vice President of West Campus and of Planning and Program Development (middle), cuts the ribbon celebrating the opening of the YDC2 Imaging Lab and the Research Labs for the Center for Conservation and Preservation (CCAP) with Meg Bellinger, Director of YDC2, and Ian McClure, Director of CCAP.

Meg Bellinger gives an introduction and background on the Imaging Lab to the first crowd before the tours and demonstrations start.

John ffrench, Director of Visual Resources at the Yale University Art Gallery as well as a member of the Imaging Lab working group, explains the significance of the large studio space and the function of the easel, catwalk and cove wall.

Holly Rushmeier (left), Professor and Chair of Computer Science, demonstrates 3D imaging of cultural heritage objects using the ShapeGrabber 3D scanner with the help of Ruggero Pintus (far left), her Postdoctoral fellow.

NextEngine 3D scanner in the process of scanning an object while rendering the image on the computer screen. As the object is turned and scanned from all angles, the images will be combined to form a 3D image of the object on the computer.

Larry Gall, Head of the Computer Systems Office at the Yale Peabody Museum and a member of the Imaging Lab working group, demonstrates the Kirtas robotic book scanners to the crowd. Photos are taken of the left and right page of the book. A vacuum robotic arm then turns the page and the next set of photos are taken. At the highest speed, a 300 page book can be photographed in 8 minutes. After the photos are checked for quality by the user, they are turned into a PDF.

Richard Caspole (middle), a photographer at the Yale Center for British Arts, demonstrates the vacuum copystand and the importance of obtaining accurate color when photographing.

Melissa Fournier, Associate Registrar for the Yale Center for British Arts and a member of the Imaging Lab working group (back center), shows off our color proofing room, complete with black out curtain and explains why color proofing is important.

After the tours were over, there was a lovely reception with a glass of bubbly for everyone to celebrate all of their hard work.

A very special thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Imaging Lab working group for their hard work and dedication, without which this lab would not be possible.

We have reached the finish line!

The final coats of paint on the walls have been completed.  The floors in Studio 1 and 2 are finished.  The Yale Digital Collections Center Imaging Lab is now complete!  Now that the paintbrushes, hammers and nails have all been put away, we can stand back and admire how far we have come in the seven months since this renovation began.  Special thanks to all of the workers who made this space possible.

On the left, you can see the original space before renovation. On the right, you can see the finished 3D and scientific imaging room. This room has equipment capable of taking 3D and multispectral images of cultural heritage objects.

On the left, you can see the original space before renovation. On the right, you can see Studio 3 complete with sound dampening audio panels on the wall. These robotic bookscanning machines are used to photograph books at a very fast rate and then turn them into digital copies. 

On the left, you can see the original space before the renovation. On the right, you can see Project Room 3 completed. This vacuum copystand will be able to accommodate prints, maps, posters, etc up to 40″ x 60″ to photograph.

On the left is the area before renovation. On the right is the completed Project Room 4. It can be used as a color proofing area or double as a small studio area. The large door at the far end allows large objects to be moved from the loading dock into the studio to be photographed.

On the left, you can see the original warehouse space before renovation. On the right you can see Studio 2, complete with a brand new catwalk to photograph objects from above.

On the left, you can see the original warehouse space before renovation. On the right, you can see the completed cove wall in Studio 1 ready for photographic projects.