“Getting to interact with the photographers”

E. Keats Webb on digital imaging of cultural heritage

E. Keats Webb is a digital imaging specialist at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute. Two years ago she attended the 2and3D Photography Conference and was very impressed by the event. This year she will be giving a presentation. “Conferences like these are about lectures and workshops, but also very much about meeting new colleagues and connecting with them. I’ve met some very interesting people the last time I was there and I’m looking forward to seeing them again.”

In her work, Keats Webb uses different cameras and lights to examine and document cultural heritage. “Museum imaging can fall within different areas of a museum, but at this conference I get to interact with the photographers!”

Webb has been in the cultural heritage field for 10 years. The Smithsonian includes 19 museums and galleries. They boast all sorts of collections from arts to anthropology to natural history. Imaging provides different ways to look at and study these collections without touching the objects or taking samples. “At the MCI Imaging Studio, we use a variety of techniques, including spectral and 3D imaging, to enhance or reveal details that we might not be able to see normally.

We focus on accessible techniques that can be used by all conservators and heritage professionals. For example, my presentation will describe the use of a modified digital consumer camera to record beyond the range of visible light. We use the camera for techniques such as reflected infrared imaging, which can record underdrawing details found below the visible layers of some paintings. The modification allows for this technique to be more easily used and more widely applied to collections.”

Webb is looking forward to the 2and3D Photography Conference at The Rijksmuseum. “There will be so many experts and people who are passionate about this subject. It’s truly an incredible event.”