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Posts Tagged ‘African photographic archives’

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Above: Dusk over Cape Town with the mountain on the left and Lion’s Head on the right. The 72nd South African Museums Association national conference was held in the last week of June at a venue close to this view.

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Digital Picture Library Manager blog designed to add value to the management of your picture and media collections as well as to keep you up to date with developments at Africa Media Online and the world of digital imaging that could be of benefit you.
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URGENT MATTERS:
A. The early bird offer for this year’s Digital Masterclasses ends Monday June 30. Further information and booking forms can be found at this link: Digital Campus
B. The closing date for applications for the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme is Monday June 30. Further information can be found at this link: African Photo Entrepreneur Programme
C. The first intake for 70% funding for digitisation under the African Image Pipeline project ends Monday June 30.For further information please visit this link: Grant Funding for Digitisation of Image Collections
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In this edition:

1. World Expert in Digital Asset Management to Teach at August Masterclasses
2. Sacred and Secret: Pictures of the 72nd South African Museum’s Association national conference
3. Eminent International Panel of Judges for the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme
4. Dominique Le Roux, Media Manager
5. The Tragedy of Xenophobia in South Africa

1. World Expert in Digital Asset Management to Teach at August Masterclasses

World authority on digital asset management, Peter Krogh, will be teaching in South Africa for the first time in August

Celebrated author of The DAM Book (The Digital Asset Management Book), Peter Krogh, has confirmed his availability for Africa Media Online’s annual digital masterclasses in August. Peter will be in South Africa to conduct a series of masterclasses in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg as part of Africa Media Online’s Digital Campus.

Not a stranger to the southern hemisphere, last year Peter conducted workshops in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers and Nikon Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. This will, however, be the first time he will be presenting in South Africa. An alpha tester for Adobe Photoshop, last year alone Peter conducted masterclasses in conjunction with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and UK-based Association of Photographers Limited (AOP), and gave seminars at Imaging USA, the National Association of Professional Photographers’ Photoshop World, PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo and the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Adventure.

While Peter has worked with a lot of photographic organisations, his courses are highly applicable for anyone working professionally with large numbers of image files, such as archives, graphic designers, picture libraries etc. The workshops will demystify DAM and reveal practical techniques for securing the long term storage of digital images.

“Peter is the ideal companion to Graeme Cookson,” said Africa Media Online’s director, David Larsen. “We have brought Graeme out for the past three years and his courses have been extremely well received. Graeme is brilliant at helping imaging professionals really understand what we are doing in terms of ensuring the quality of individual image files in a productive manner. I wanted to find someone who would compliment Graeme in teaching best practice in digital workflow from camera or scanner to end user. Where Graeme’s strength lies in dealing with the quality of the image files themselves, I wanted someone who specialises in the efficiency of managing hundreds, if not thousands, of image files. I met Peter at CEPIC in Florence last year at the first ever international photo metadata conference and we got chatting. I could not have found anyone better than Peter Krogh, and it is a great privilege to have him on board,” Larsen said.

“Peters knowledge on the subject is the best in the world. When it comes to DAM for photographers, Peter Krogh literally wrote the book on the subject”, said Australian professional photographer and DAM consultant Robert Edwards.

The 10% early bird discount ends on Monday June 30

Find out more and download the order form

2. Sacred and Secret Heritage: Pictures of the 72nd South African Museum’s Association national conference

South African Museums Association (SAMA) delegate, Suzette Farmer from the Simon’s Town Museum, studies a rock art display at the Iziko South African Museum during the opening event of the SAMA national conference 2008.

The South African Museums Association held its 72nd National Conference at the Stellenbosch University Business School in Cape Town in late June 2008. The conference theme was “Sacred and Secret Heritage,” and it engendered some lively debate. In his brief talk at the conference, Africa Media Online’s director, David Larsen, summed up the conference from his perspective saying, “the central question that seems to be emerging at this conference is, ‘Who has the right to represent our heritage – to tell our story?” It is the quality of empathy that, if not giving the right, then at least opens the doors to investigate sacred heritage practices and represent those practices through research findings.

Pictures of the conference will be available shortly or you can email David Larsen at editor@africamediaonline.com.

3. Eminent International Panel of Judges for the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme

Renowned photojournalist, Louise Gubb, is one of the judges deciding on suitable candidates for the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme. Louise covered South Africa’s turbulent struggle for democracy for most of the leading news magazines including Time, Newsweek, Stern and Paris Match. She has judged a number of the annual Fuji Press photography competitions in South Africa.

The African Photo Entrepreneur Programme has been given significant impetus with prominent African and international photographers and editors lending their support by sitting on the judging panel. The panel will assess the submissions of possible candidates and select the most promising for inclusion in the programme. Confirmed judges are: Julia Heinemann, Gallery Portfolio Director of LUMAS; Khanyi Dhlomo, Editor of Destiny magazine; former World Press Photo jury member and AFP Chief Photographer in South Africa, Alexander Joe; head of Getty Images multimedia, Rick Gershon; Karine Aigner, Senior Photo Editor of National Geographic Kids Magazine; and acclaimed South African photographer, Louise Gubb.

This year’s programme is aimed at encouraging historically disadvantaged and women photographers to succeed as photo entrepreneurs, granting skills, market savvy and route to markets for groups that are currently underrepresented in this sector. Successful applicants will have sponsored access to the Digital Campus and further training modules.

Applications for the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme close at the end of the day on Monday June 30

Find out more see if you qualify and make a submission to be included.

4. Dominique Le Roux, Media Manager

Dominique Le Roux, Media Manager for Africa Media Online

The Africa Media Online team has felt the impact of Dominique Le Roux over the past six months. Dominique joined the team in January and has brought 17 years of media experience – as a writer, magazine editor, book publisher, web content manager, television presenter and photographic agent. As Media Manager, Dominique brings an eye for markets and clear strategy on how to access and make the most of them. Dominique is based in Cape Town but travels a fair amount to the other centres. She recently represented Africa Media Online at the Tourism Indaba and at the International Media Forum SA. Email Dominique on dominique@africamediaonline.com.

5. The Tragedy of Xenophobia in South Africa

South Africa Why are You Doing this to Us: More than a month after being displaced by xenophobic violence, refugees camp on the pavement in central Cape Town with little more than plastic bags to keep out the Cape winter chill. Ironically the place where they have taken up residence is across the street from the District Six Museum, a landmark of the infamous District Six forced removals of the 1960s. These refugees have had to endure the same kind of brutality at the hands of many who once endured such hardships themselves under apartheid. Many of these refugees have survived war in their own nations and had come to South Africa to find a place of peace and prosperity. That dream was shattered last month with the outbreak of xenophobic violence.

When my youngest daughter was presented to our community early last year, blessings were spoken over her in eleven languages including, Zulu (South Africa), Shona (Zimbabwe), Xhosa (South Africa), Kiswahili (East and Central Africa), Kirundi (Burundi), Ndebele (Zimbabwe), English (International), French (International) Afrikaans (South Africa), and Lingala (Congo DRC). For me this was a wonderful picture of the richness of post-apartheid South Africa, which not only emerged out of the cultural prison of apartheid, but has been reintegrated into the African continental community.

There is no doubt that the xenophobic violence which swept South Africa last month was a shocking denigration of all that the new South Africa, the miracle nation stands for. How did our people come to turn on those very nations that gave up so much on our behalf in assisting us in our struggle for liberation? How is it that we have moved so far from the bright vision of a united Africa provided for us by Nkruma and Nyerere, Luthuli and Mandela? On June 2, 2008 I wrote the following to those who receive our africanpictures.net newsletter:

“The past few weeks have witnessed a great tragedy in the history of South Africa. Once again the grotesque spectre of apartheid has emerged from the shadows to haunt our public life. Its target may be different, but its stench is the same. It is the same stale justification of why one group needs to hoard opportunity and resources at the expense of another, the same bigotry that forcefully removes people from their homes and has women and children cowering in places of safety, has bodies burning in the streets, has lives scarred for decades by reckless violence, the same discrimination that treats those different from oneself as sub-human, as somehow not worthy of the privileges we demand for ourselves. The lies are the same, the justifications are familiar, the fear and anguish are alike. As too are the vulgar names the powerful call the powerless!

In a matter of days nightmarish scenes we had fought so hard to be rid of have erupted in our midst again. How did we come to this? How in the miracle nation, among Tutu’s “rainbow people of God,” did this come to pass? Who is at fault is not important. What is required is that we take responsibility, responsibility to protect the weak, guard the vulnerable, care for the wounded, speak courageously for truth even when it is unpopular or dangerous. We’ve been here before. We know how to do this. Let’s do it!”

Some weeks after those tragic events many are doing it. Government and civil society organisations have taken a stand. We want to be telling those stories in the months to come. Yet we are aware so much trust has been lost, so much suspicion born. And we are also aware of the issues that led to this explosion of violence – a growing gap between the haves and have nots, poor education, an economy that is unable to absorb the abundance of unskilled labour, a culture of fatherlessness, and a lack of service delivery. And all of this is against a backdrop of the active nurturing of a culture of consumerism, a highly visible, extremely wealthy, middle class, and well organised criminal syndicates. Add to this toxic mix of hopelessness, millions of Zimbabweans searching for a bearable existence, and millions of other entrepreneurial immigrants who appear to be succeeding where poor South Africans are failing – and one can quickly see how the explosion came about.

These events in our nation bring us face to face with some hard realities that our society faces – some brutal facts about the distance we have really come in walking free from the the identities thrust upon us by apartheid. We realise we are not as far along as we expected and the tentacles of racism still reach into our hearts.

More than anything we are needing in this hour clear moral leadership that the likes of Mandela, Tutu and Luthuli provided in their generation – leaders that can help us take ownership of our common complicity in the lies, and our common responsibility in laying hold of the dream that those great leaders set before us. I see this happening all over this nation, from earnest debates among colleagues in the South African Museums Association conference to conversations with journalists and photographers. Should such leaders arise, then perhaps something worthwhile may emerge from this crucible experience.

Mayibuye iAfrika!

David Larsen
Director – Africa Media Online

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Above: Shalom Farm, Greytown, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. An estimated 60,000 men gathered on Angus Buchan’s farm to hear the farmer and author speak, calling men from all walks of life to live lives for a purpose greater than personal gain. Over seven thousand men gathered in 2007 and in 2008 35,000 were expected. The world’s largest tent – nine stories high and longer than three rugby fields was no match for the crowd that gathered from all over South Africa, southern Africa and the world. The gathering seemed to signal a spiritual hunger among men in the region that many hope will contribute to a more humane society

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Digital Picture Library Manager blog designed to add value to the management of your picture and media collections as well as to keep you up to date with developments at Africa Media Online and the world of digital imaging that could be of benefit you.
_________________________________________________________________________________
URGENT MATTERS:
A. If you intend submitting image collections for 70% funded digitisation under the African Image Pipeline project please ensure you contact us before May 15. Find detail under item 1.
B. The closing date for Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards is May 1. Find detail under item 4.
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In this edition:

1. 2010 Digitisation Project Gets Official Support from National Heritage Council
2. Images from the International Library of African Music Go Online
3. Expanded Digital Masterclasses Come to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg in August
4. Photo Section of the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008
5. Claire Kruiskamp, Picture Sales Executive
6. Building an archive that will last: Bit Depth

1. 2010 Digitisation Project Gets Official Support from National Heritage Council

Construction at the Cape Town’s International Airport toward getting the facility ready for the massive influx of visitors expected during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™

South Africa’s National Heritage Council has recently given unanimous support to a project initiated by Africa Media Online to digitise 32,000 images ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. With 70% funding from the the European Union, through Gijima KZN, an initiative of the Department of Economic Development, the project aims to assist photographers and heritage institutions to get ready for the rush of interest in South Africa’s history, cultures, geography and economy in the build up and aftermath of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

CEO of the National Heritage Council Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa said in a letter of commendation, “As this pilot project seeks to enhance the conservation measures of our heritage resources, the National Heritage Council confirms its endorsement of the African Image Pipeline project.”

Africa Media Online’s commitment to principles that ensure that ownership and control of collections remain with the organisations charged with their care, is one of the factors which has enabled the National Heritage Council to consider this project as a pilot digitisation project.

The project provides a 70% subsidy to digitise select pictures from participating collections at archival quality which are representative of South Africa’s history and heritage. Participating heritage organisations and photographers are expected to use the digitised images for their own promotional material in banners, exhibitions, brochures etc. With 32,000 images to digitise before year end, the project is having to proceed on a first come first serve basis.

Should you be interested in submitting image collections for digitisation please do not hesitate to contact Africa Media Online’s Director David Larsen on editor@africamediaonline.comor 082-829-7959 or Business Manager, Sue Hadcroft on sue@africamediaonline.com033-345-9445.

Digitisation is one of five elements to the project:
Click here to find out more about the whole project.
Click here to view a news report about the project.

2. Images from the International Library of African Music Go Online

Batwa pigmies listening to playback 2, Congo, 1949. Photo: Hugh Tracey/International Library of African Music

In March Africa Media Online completed a digitisation project tackling the picture collection of the International Library of African Music at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. With close to 10,000 images digitised and a web site created with over 1,000 high resolution images available for publication, the project was a great success. The first heritage project in South Africa to take a picture collection all the way from physical archive to a global online audience, the project was funded by South Africa’s National Heritage Council.
Click here to view ILAM’s new Picture Archive
Click here to view a photo feature from ILAM’s new Picture Archive
Click here to view a video of the ILAM project.

3. Expanded Digital Masterclasses Come to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg in August

Participants being taught masking techniques by Graeme Cookson during the Practical Digital Workflow masterclass in Durban, August, 2007

Following three years of highly successful masterclasses run each August in Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng, Africa Media Online will again run the masterclasses, but this time in expanded form. In 2008 Africa Media Online will be running its first Digital Campus – a whole week of training. UK based digital imaging consultant Graeme Cookson will be joined by US based Peter Krogh the author of The DAM Book and Microsoft Icons of Imaging member. The Digital Campus will include masterclasses by Graeme and Peter as well as evening workshops and events. Find out more…

4. Photo Section of the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008

May 1 is the deadline for the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008. The Awards were created in 2004 to help transform perceptions about the continent. Five years on, Africa is seen very differently, and the Awards continue to seek out and recognise journalists and editors around the world who have gone the extra mile to promote a balanced view of economic opportunity and business achievement in Africa. The Awards aim to promote a more balanced view of financial issues and business opportunities across the continent, thereby empowering investors to make informed decisions about Africa as well as showcasing Africa’s success stories. The awards include a category for “best published photograph”. To enter, visit the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008 web site

5. Claire Kruiskamp, Picture Sales Executive

Claire Kruiskamp, Sales Executive for Africa Media Online’s africanpictures.net

Claire Kruiskamp has been Sales Executive for Africa Media Online’s africanpictures.net for almost a year. She looks after the company’s South African clients and some of its international clients. With a matriculate from DSG, and BComm from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, Claire came to Africa Media Online with a background in administration, marketing and sales. If you have not already met her in her travels to Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town she would be glad to pay you a visit next time she is in your area. Clients in the UK will have the opportunity to meet her at the BAPLA Picture Buyer’s Fair at the Business Design Centre in London, 7-8 May. Email Claire on pictures@africanpictures.net or call her on +27-33-345-9445.

6. Building an Archive that will last: Bit Depth

Constitution Hill in the heart of Johannesburg is the home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court. Formerly the Old Fort Prison Complex, the site was home to Number Four prison which in the days of apartheid saw the incarceration of thousands of political activists including Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. Pictures with great range from dark to light gain from being captured and worked with in 16 bits

The africanpictures.net Imaging Standards Document outlines image quality for professional markets and archival preservation. In the last edition we dealt with interpolation, now we want to look at the related subject of bit depth.

To build a digital collection at archival quality, you should be scanning at 16 bits per colour channel or 48 bits. This is to capture the maximum colour variations in an image. When you want to output to printing or to media markets, however, a file should always be changed into 8 bits per colour channel or 24 bits otherwise you will end up stopping the press, hence the africanpictures.net imaging standard is 8 bits, simply because the standard defines the standards of market ready files. So what does all this mean?

To get on to all the technical stuff click here

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Above: Mimosa Mall, Bloemfontein: In the rush and glitz of Christmas it is easy to forget the child born into poverty in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago who, without an army or any political, community or religious position, has impacted centuries of history and billions of lives

Welcome to the third edition of the Digital Picture Library Manager blog designed to add value to the management of your picture and media collections as well as to keep you up to date with developments at Africa Media Online and the world of digital imaging that could be of benefit you.

In this edition:

1. Building an archive that will last: interpolation
2. National Heritage Council applauds digitisation of World’s foremost African music archive
3. Struik Publishing invests in digital imaging training
4. Africans feature on the 2008 World Press Photo jury
5. Reinhardt Hartzenberg, Picture Editor

Building an Archive that will last: Interpolation

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Participants in the Practical Digital Workflow masterclass are taken through the essentials of digital imaging step by step

The africanpictures.net Imaging Standards Document outlines image quality for professional markets and archival preservation. In the last edition we dealt with file size, now we want to look at the related subject of interpolation. Interpolation is a means of “bumping up” the file size of an image. Although this practice should be avoided on the whole, as it is a compromise in the image quality, it does prove useful for designers who need a very large image for a bill board or display poster.

To interpolate an image, a software package such as Photoshop will simply invent more pixels. The problem of course, is that the software does not know what the picture ought to be and so if there is a black pixel sitting next to a white pixel, the software will simply insert pixels in between with colour gradients that step through shades of grey from black to white. This works to a point, but if you push it too far the image becomes fuzzy and blurred. There are software packages, however, which do a better job at this than most. Probably the best known is Genuine Fractals which now claims to be able to enlarge an image up to 1000% without any loss in quality.

In terms of building a picture collection that is going to stand the test of time, the best is to use no interpolation at all. The principle is that you want to create an archive that is at best quality and most useful for being repositioned to any use. Interpolation is best left to the end user. Even if the image you are supplying to an end users is too small for her need, the advantage of sticking to the zero interpolation standard is that the end user can be sure that they are having to interpolate an image that has already been interpolated.

2. National Heritage Council applauds digitisation of World’s foremost African music archive

AMO ILAM Team

The Africa Media Online team at the International Library of African Music at Rhodes University in Grahamstown at the start of the digitisation project. In the first phase of the project the team scanned all the pictures and captured related metadata. The second phase will involve the creation of a MEMAT powered web site and the selection, retouching, keywording and loading online of 1,000 of the images

Africa Media Online has been undertaking the digitisation of the photographic collections of the International Library of African Music in Grahamstown funded by the National Heritage Council. Warara Kakaza from Leap Digital, who are the project auditors for the National Heritage Council, visited the project and had this to say afterwards in a brief telephone conversation with Africa Media Online’s Director David Larsen:

David Larsen: Having visited the ILAM project what is your perspective?

Warara Kakaza: We are happy and satisfied with the progress. We could see visible things that you could touch and feel and we were quite excited when we left. The work looks like it will be finished even before the planned timeline. Professor Diane Thram was on the ball and we also spoke with Melinda [AMO’s metadata capture team leader]. We also interacted with Reinhardt [AMO’s picture editor]. We are very happy with the way things are going. We also spoke with Ian [AMO’s product manager] telephonically and I gave him quite specific feedback to say we were quite happy. I think what really made us happy were the kind of opportunities that that project has. Even after the NHC funding is gone there is big potential and tremendous opportunity and not only for South Africa but also for the whole continent. It really made us feel so good.

David Larsen: Did you feel it was well managed?

Warara Kakaza: Yes well managed… In fact I also made a comment to say that of all the… Because we go through all these files that the NHC has and of all the proposals we have gone through your proposal was the most well put together proposal. It was so clear exactly what you are going to do. It is so easy to measure. It is so easy to see, to monitor and evaluate it, to see whether things are happening or not happening. It was so professionally prepared and it made our work very easy… The fact that even the public will have access on the web site made us feel that we will always have access and generations to come will have access to that information. We were very happy!

3. Struik Publishing invests in digital imaging training

Cape Town airport

Construction cranes against the night sky at Cape Town International airport

The digital revolution has placed many of the tasks, once confined to specialists in the repro houses, into the hands of photographers, designers and dtp operators. One of the foremost publishing houses in South Africa, Struik Publishers recognised the need for staff to be well equipped in this area and invited Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen, in to deliver a one day Digital Imaging Essentials masterclass to over 20 staff members in early November. A wide range of staff including picture editors, designers, photographers and IT personnel clearly benefitted from the course giving it an average score of 9.58 out of a possible 10.

Africa Media Online is finding many organisations are asking for this kind of training. Arlene Gippert from Struik is more than happy to respond to anyone who would like to know how this course helped her staff arlene@striuk.co.za

4. Africans Feature on the 2008 World Press Photo Jury

Simon Njami

Artistic Director, Simon Njami, addresses dignitaries at the launch of the 2005 Bamako Biennale, Bamako, Mali

South Africa’s Jodi Bieber and Cameroon’s Simon Njami feature on the panel of the 2008 World Press Photo Awards. Jodi is a product of the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg and has won eight World Press Photo awards. Simon Njami is editor-in-chief of Revue Noire and has been artistic director of the Bamako photography biennale since 2001. He has curated numerous exhibitions of African art and photography, including Africa Remix, which is touring the world and is currently in South Africa.

If you are wanting to submit, the deadline is Thursday, 10 January 2008, 23.59 Central European Time. The easiest way to submit is via the new online system. A number of us used it last year and it was a whole lot easier that packaging CDs and application forms. Here is the link: https://submit.worldpressphoto.nl/

The World Press Photo newsletter asked jury chairman Gary Knight for some tips on the best way to select submissions for the 2008 contest. He said “A story or portfolio will be better received if it contains a limited number of strong, intelligently sequenced images. Don’t feel you have to make up the maximum number of 12. Weak images in an otherwise strong body of work may condemn the whole essay to the wastebasket. As for single pictures, demonstrate some judgment in your selection of strong images. And please remember that we are here to judge, not to edit.”

5. Reinhardt Hartzenberg, new Picture Editor

Reinhardt Hartzenberg

With a background in fine art photography, Reinhardt Hartzenberg joined Africa Media Online as Picture Editor in May

Reinhardt Hartzenberg is an M-Tech Photography (Cum Laude) graduate from the Tshwane University of Technology. His most significant contribution to African photography to date is that he was the founder and is the current editor of the South African Journal of Photography. He also opened the Imaging Hub Photographic Gallery in Pretoria, in order to raise awareness of Fine Art photography in South Africa. Reinhardt is passionate about the future of African photography. Reinhardt joined Africa Media Online in May 2007 as Picture Editor.

A Joyful Christmas and a New Year Full of Hope

Africa Media Online Staff

Africa Media Online staff members who attended a recent Christmas celebration

From all of us at Africa Media Online we want to wish you and your family a joy filled Christmas and a safe New Year. Thank you for your support and interest in what we are doing over the past year and we look forward to interacting with you in 2008, a year filled with destiny!

Our office will be closed from December 21, 2007 and will reopen on January 2, 2008.

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Above: The Eastern Cape from the air. Africa Media Online’s Mobile Digitisation Unit has relocated to the Eastern Cape to digitise the International Library of African Music

Welcome to the second edition of the Digital Picture Library Manager blog designed to add value to the management of your picture and media collections as well as to keep you up to date with developments at Africa Media Online and the world of digital imaging that could be of benefit you.

In this edition:

1. Building an archive that will last: file size
2. Black owned company acquires majority shareholding in Africa Media Online
3. Digital imaging masterclasses meet the need in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg
4. World’s foremost African music archive to be digitised by Africa Media Online
5. South African photographer, David Goldblatt, wins prestigious honorary fellowship

1. Building an archive that will last: file size

Graeme Cookson at ILAM 2

Capturing files that will last: digital imaging consultant, Graeme Cookson at the International Library of African Music

The new africanpictures.net imaging standards, which can be downloaded here, gives target file sizes for submission to its image library in megabytes. This is because the size of an image is a more accurate measure of its quality, as long as it has not been interpolated (had the size bumped up artificially), than the commonly used measure – resolution. For resolution to be a useful measure, the dimensions of a file need to be mentioned. Simply saying a file is “300 dpi” is not enough. It is like saying “100 km/hour” in response to the question “how far is Pretoria from Johannesburg?” “100 km/hour for 1 hour” is going to be a far more useful answer. Likewise “300 dpi at 10 cm by 15 cm” tells you more about how useful an image will be. To get to the point more quickly in response to the question about the distance from Johannesburg to Pretoria, one could have said 100 km. In the same way a more efficient way to speak about file size is in Megabytes.

The africanpictures.net Digital Imaging Standards document outlines the target file sizes for building a collection for professional print purposes and for archiving.

Digital files that will last

Picture collections need to be digitised for the purpose of preservation and access. You want to make sure you do it right the first time so you do not have to revisit an expensive process again

The minimum standard for professional news and sport photography, where photographers often have to shoot large numbers of images to capture the action, is the most lenient in terms of file size. An 18 MB file can be shot on a 6 megapixel camera.

On the other extreme are images for commercial work which should be between 50 and 60 MB in size so that they can be used on everything from a magazine advert to large display boards.

50 to 60 MB is also the file size if you are wanting to produce archival quality scans from negatives and transparencies. Museums and archives also tend to have to scan photographic prints and here the file size will vary according to the size of the print. The convention is to scan the print at it real dimensions (eg. 10 cm x 15 cm) at 600 dpi. This means you are capturing enough data to print that image at twice the size of the original.

The minimum file size for editorial images is between 24 and 30 MB which is sufficient for printing a full page of a magazine and has enough quality factor for a double page spread. Of course with all of these we are speaking about minimum targets and if a sports photographer captures images at between 50 and 60 MB those images simply become useful for more purposes.

2. Black owned company acquires majority shareholding in Africa Media Online

Sandile

Africa Media Online’s Executive Chairperson, Sandile Swana BTh BCom BCom Hons MBA, brings to the organisation a wealth of experience in business management and financial leadership

Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.) has recently acquired a majority stake in Africa Media Online. The change in ownership means that Africa Media Online is now officially black owned and holds the status of HDI as defined by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industries. The new executive chairperson and director, Sandile Swana, said there are two primary developmental needs in Africa, cost effective transportation and effective communication. He sees Africa Media Online as a solid investment as it is contributing greatly toward effective communication in the African continent as African media professionals, media organisations and heritage institutions are empowered by the technological platform developed by Africa Media Online, to tell Africa’s story to a global audience. Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen said he was delighted to be in partnership with Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.) as they bring a solid financial base to the company and considerable financial skill. Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.) now owns 51% of the company, the Larsen Family Trust 39% and Dr Rouen Bruni has a 10% equity share.

3. Digital imaging masterclasses meet the need in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg

Graeme Cookson coaches participants

UK based digital imaging consultant, Graeme Cookson, demonstrates masking techniques in Photoshop to participants in the Practical Digital Workflow masterclass in Durban

Africa Media Online’s digital masterclasses run in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg in August with Graeme Cookson received wonderfully high ratings from participants. Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen, said he was delighted with the feedback. “Considering that all participants at the six masterclasses were imaging professionals in their own right – designers, museums professionals, professional photographers and the like – it was amazing that across the board participants expressed that they benefited greatly. We are obviously hitting the mark. It is obviously rewarding for us in view of our passion to empower African imaging professionals to be confident in working at international standards. It is always wonderful working with Graeme because he is not only extremely knowledgeable but also a brilliantly clear communicator.

This year Africa Media Online ran two types of masterclass in each city. A two day, Practical Digital Workflow masterclasses where participants sit at work stations and put into practice what they are being taught, was added to the one day Digital Imaging Essentials masterclass which had been successfully run in 2005 and 2006. This year the Digital Imaging Essentials masterclass got the following average scores from participant evaluations out of a possible 10 (bearing in mind that the participants were all imaging professionals): Durban – 9.1; Cape Town – 8.9; Johannesburg 8.5. The new Practical Digital Workflow masterclasses got the following average scores from participant evaluations out of a possible 10: Durban – 9.6; Cape Town – 9.5; Johannesburg – 9.1.

Africa Media Online intends to bring Graeme Cookson out again next year and is in the process of finalising dates and courses. There is also a possibility of running classes in other cities as an invitation has already been received from Bloemfontein.

4. World’s foremost African music archive to be digitised by Africa Media Online

Professor Diane Thram at ILAM

ILAM’s Director, Professor Diane Thram examines pictures in the archive. Africa Media Online’s Mobile Digitisation Unit will be digitising the collection over the next two months

The International Library of African Music at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, is known as one of the “greatest repositories of African music in the world.” Not only does the archive contain field recordings from as early as the 1930s, it also contains up to 8,000 images taken by Hugh Tracey, his son, professor emeritus Andrew Tracey and other researchers and photographers.

Africa Media Online’s Mobile Digitisation Unit relocated to Grahamstown this past weekend to begin cataloguing and digitising these images and capturing associated meta-data as part of a preservation project funded by South Africa’s Africa’s National Heritage Council.

In 2006 Africa Media Online assisted ILAM Director, Professor Diane Thram, in creating the funding proposal which led to the awarding of a National Heritage Council grant to catalogue and preserve ILAM’s photographic and film collections. As part of the digitisation process, a selection of the most usable images will be made and copies of them retouched and keyworded using the African Archival Thesaurus. They will then be made available to a global audience online on ILAM’’s MEMAT powered web site.

Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen, says, “We consider it a great privilege to be working with Professor Thram and her team in what is a vital project in the preservation of African heritage. We are grateful to the National Heritage Council for taking the initiative to preserve such an essential resource for future generations.” Prof. Thram says, “I wish to heartily thank the South African National Heritage Council for the enabling funding and Africa Media Online for their dedicated cooperation in planning and now executing the essential work of making ILAM’s historic collection of images of sub-Saharan Africa available to the world.

5. South African photographer, David Goldblatt, wins prestigious honorary fellowship

Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela, soon after his return to South Africa in the 1980s. Photograph: David Goldblatt

In a ceremony on October 4, South African photographer, David Goldblatt is to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Photographic Society. The prestigious award is only presented to up to eight photographers a year. Goldblatt is South Africa’s most awarded photographer. Last year he won the world’s most prestigious photographic award, The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Goldblatt’s work is represented by Africa Media Online on africanpictures.net as part of the South Photos archive. The Royal Photographic Society’s Honorary Fellowships are “awarded to distinguished persons having, from their position or attainments, an intimate connection with the science or fine art of photography or the application thereof.”

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