Tag: Photo

Article: Time Travelers, Virality, Museums and Digital Rights

Article: Time Travelers, Virality, Museums and Digital Rights

In the first half of 2010 a photograph with an unusual claim about one of the people depicted in it began to circulate on the internet. The photo, as reproduced here, created a minor stir due to the fantastic notion that it showed a time traveler standing in a crowd in the year 1941. The man (visible in the right-center of the photo) was said be to a time traveler due to his apparently anachronistic sunglasses, hoodie, printed t-shirt and modern looking camera. The resulting explosion of posts, claims and counterclaims fueled an online debate and spawned numerous imitators, proponents and debunkers throughout the rest of 2010 (and a Wikipedia entry as well!)

The Time Traveling Hipster photograph, from the "Their Past Lives Here" online exhibition created by the Bralorne Museum.

While the story of the hipster time traveler photo is fascinating on its own merits, as it speaks to the speed and nature of virality on the internet as well as the way the denizens of the internet construct (and deconstruct) a modern day myth, a paper delivered at the 2011 Museums and the Web conference uses the incident to illustrate how museums and other institutions can attempt to maintain control of their holdings in the nearly lawless realm of cyberspace.

Aside from being a fascinating detective story tracing the evolution of the time traveler photo on the internet, the paper entitled “The Mystery of the “1940s Time Traveller”: The Changing Face of Online Brand Monitoring” deftly introduces some compelling theories and arguments about online behavior, the management of digital rights and control of proprietary images as well as making the case for a more open and conversational stance by government institutions. In addition, some sharp pop culture quotes pepper the paper, adding a fun and light tone to the arguments–exactly the tone the authors argue that museums should take when dealing with the public. The majority of the paper is devoted to discussing how museums and other institutions can keep control of their brand, that is to say, retain rights and benefit from the exposure an event such as the hipster time traveler can being. Notably, the authors state how the further in time and deeper into the web the photo traveled, the less proper attributions were connected to it. The paper brings up some intriguing concepts by other authors, notably the idea of “conversational capital” by Cesvet and serves as a primer on how to approach brand monitoring–ideas that are applicable to a wide range of online endeavors, not just museums.

A highly recommended read, not just for those interested in digital rights management or preserving the integrity of online and offline collections but also for those curious about virality and the new theories developing around the transmission of information on the internet. Thanks and credit to David Harkness, Sheila Carey and Julie Marion for their paper as well as the Bralorne Museum, holder of the original photograph.

https://conference.archimuse.com/mw2011/papers/the_mystery_of_the_1940s_time_traveller_the_ch

Harkness, D., et al., The Mystery of the “1940s Time Traveller”: The Changing Face of Online Brand Monitoring. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2011. Consulted August 7, 2011. http://conference.archimuse.com/mw2011/papers/mystery_1940s_time_traveller

The online “Their Past Lives Here” exhibit by the Bralorne Museum.

http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/Search.do?R=VE_1458&lang=en&ex=on

Finally, for a breakdown and examination of the photo from a skeptic’s viewpoint:

http://forgetomori.com/2010/fortean/time-traveler-caught-in-museum-photo/

Photo of the Day: The Taiping Rebellion

Photo of the Day: The Taiping Rebellion

Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Street Graffiti

The name of the 太平天囯 (Taiping Tianguo), the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom is invoked on a street sign on Salisbury Road in Hong Kong. The Taiping were a rebel faction led by Hong Xiuquan who carved out a nation in southern China from 1851 to 1864. At odds with the ruling Qing Dynasty, the so called Taiping Rebellion was the costliest civil war in history, with some estimates placing the death toll at 25 million.

Photo of the Day: The National Palace Museum

Photo of the Day: The National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum in Taiwain

In the 1930s Chinese Nationalist authorities removed the the bulk of the collection of art and antiquities located within the Palace Museum inside the Forbidden City to prevent them from falling into Japanese hands as hostilities and tensions began to escalate between China and Japan after the Mukden Bridge Incident. In 1948 the decision was made to take the best of the collection to Taiwan as the Civil War between the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek and the Chinese Communists under Mao Zedong continued. Ultimately, over 600000 pieces of the finest examples of Chinese art and artifacts including books and paintings were sent to Taiwan and with the Nationalist retreat to the island in 1949, the collection would come to be housed in the National Palace Museum. As a result, the museum is widely considered to house the best examples of Chinese art in the world.

Photo of the Day: The Shanghai World Expo

Photo of the Day: The Shanghai World Expo

Crowds form beneath the illuminated Expo Axis structure not far from the China Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Photo taken on October 16 2010, which set the record for the highest one-day attendance in world expo history with 1.03 million visitors. Naturally, that was the day your intrepid Wired History crew decided on for our third foray to the Expo grounds.

History Tech: Document Camera Stand

History Tech: Document Camera Stand

Every historian has (or will have) spent time in a library or archive, hunting through books, municipal records and old journals for precious bits of information. For making a permanent record of finds for further study, photocopying has long been the standard method. However, photocopying can be an expensive and less than green proposition and some locations either don’t have photocopiers or simply do not allow photocopying at all. Small digital cameras offer an easy way and inexpensive way to create an digital copy that can be easily transmitted and stored. Yet most research work is done alone and using a camera in one hand while trying to keep a book propped open with the other can lead to blurry photos as well as being cumbersome when faced with dozens or even hundreds of pages to be recorded. To make taking quality photos of books and documents an easier and faster task, a document camera stand can be extraordinarily helpful.

The web site Instructables has a guide on how to build a inexpensive, portable camera document mount. Although it does require the use of a few tools, the overall build is not very complex and the instructions puts the price at under $20 USD. While there are commercial versions available, for the intrepid historian with a little time on their hands and for the generally broke graduate student, this project can provide a great piece of equipment for venturing into the archives.

http://www.instructables.com/id/New-Improved-Portable-Paperless-Digital-Copy-M/

History in the News: Rare Photos

History in the News: Rare Photos

Two sets of rare photos have recently popped up on the news. The first is a collection of little known photographs from the rescue efforts the morning after the Titanic disaster. The pictures depict Titanic’s lifeboats at sea, the icy waters where the ship went down, some of the survivors themselves and the S.S. Californian, one of the vessels that arrived to rescue survivors. The photos were part of a collection of over 100 items that included letters and other items. The set went under the auctioneer’s gavel on October 22nd 2011 and sold for $100570.

The second group of photos are also from an ill fated journey. In 1911 Robert Falcon Scott undertook an expedition to reach the South Pole. While he and his team eventually made it to their goal, they were beaten to the Pole by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and died attempting to return to base camp. The photos are being published in a new book entitled “The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott.”

See a selection of the Titanic photos at :: Yahoo Titanic Slide Show

Read a news story about the Titanic photos at :: Titanic news story/

Some of the Scott photos are at :: Yahoo Scott photos

Photo of the Day: The Statue of Brothers

Photo of the Day: The Statue of Brothers

The Statue of Brothers at the War Museum of Korea

The Statue of Brothers at the War Museum of Korea depicts two brothers, one a South Korean officer and the other a North Korean soldier, who encounter each other on the battlefield. The two brothers are shown falling into each others arms as brotherly affection and forgiveness overcomes the political realities of war.

Although usually not categorized as a civil war, the Korean conflict drove more than just a political wedge through the heart of the country and the continuing sentiment of a people divided is starkly exemplified in this statue.

Photo taken July 22, 2010

Photo of the Day: Panmunjom

Photo of the Day: Panmunjom

The border between North and South Korea at Panmunjom, the small village where the armistice was signed in 1953. The small concrete line running between the two blue buildings is the border itself. Two South Korean soldiers watch from the corners of the UN buildings while a North Korean guard is visible in the middle left. The large building in the center of the photo on the North Korean side is the site of the original signing.

Photo taken July 26th 2011, one day before the anniversary of the treaty signing.