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A digitisation milestone

For the last 9 months we have been steadily digitising and archiving the approx. 2,600 quarter plate sized (83x108mm) negatives that make up the majority of the Holtermann glass plate negative collection. After a long wait and a lot of hard work the quarter plate digitisation is complete! This leaves only approx. 1,100 plates to scan.

We are now working on digitising the half plate [110x170mm] portraits and stereographs, the whole plates [165x217mm] and the larger 8x10 inch [203x254mm] and 10x12 inch [254x305mm] glass plate negatives. For these sizes we are continuing to use the Creo iQsmart3 scanner and getting some great, detailed results – see the Zoomify image below, recently created from one of Holtermann's half plate stereographs.

Unidentified Wharf

Unidentified wharf, Port Melbourne [box 32 negative 5 a2824606] / American & Australasian Photographic Company.

Next on the agenda are the large plates, ranging from approx. 15x18 inch [381x457mm] up to 18x22 inch [457x559mm]. Because these glass plates are too large to fit on the scanner bed we are going to use a custom light box set up to evenly backlight the negatives so they can be photographed using our Hasselblad H3DII-50 camera. Some testing has already been carried out with good results, although we will continue testing before coming to a final decision. All that is left then is to build the light box framework, set up the lighting and shooting can begin. We will post about the light box design once it is finalised. Until then, enjoy the curatorial updates.