PRESENTATION: "Historical Views of Tourism in Lebanon: From Metadata to Interface, A View from the View." CAA, NYC

Presentation: "Historical Views of Tourism in Lebanon: From Metadata to Interface, A View from the View." Panel: Rethinking Photographic Archives Online. College Art Association Conference. NYC, New York. Feb 2017. 

A View from the View is a project that explores visual ephemera of the tourism industry in Lebanon from 1900-1976 through postcards. Given that postcards are a genre of photography, they largely run in parallel to developments of photographic practices of the region—and worldwide. Yet, how did certain images/vistas/angles/views become iconic?

This project emerges from much larger ethnographic and historic questions (sensualities, sensibilities, and affects), and A View from the View presents a digital interface to recirculate these metonymies of tourism. On the website there are two iterations, Eddies and Reframing, as well as a fully downloadable database of all materials/metadata. Eddies is a GPS based interface that reconstructs views from postcards on a map—which renders an actual “field of vision.” Through a larger computational cycling, these fields overlap and intersect making discernable, through GIS, types of views over time. Reframing is an attempt to break each image’s composition using computer vision and image processing (Matlab) to assess borders of elements—water to sky, sky to land, land to water. This raises questions of what might be viewed as appropriate “touristic” imagery in different eras.

Through focusing on postcards, the significance of the interface is its ability to explore what is at stake in moving beyond a flat/static catalog of imagery. It allows for new explorations, juxtapositions, and circulation of a specific genre of historical photographic images. 


Time: 02/16/2017: 3:30PM–5:00PM
Location: Petit Trianon, 3rd Floor

Chair: Eleanor M. Hight, University of New Hampshire

The Marc Vaux Archive: A Case Study for Social Art Histories and the Digital Humanities
Pat Elifritz, Bard College

Overlooked Assets: Digitizing Original Samples in Early Photographic Manuals at the Library of Congress
Katherine Mintie, University of California, Berkeley

Historical Views of Tourism in Lebanon: From Metadata to Interface, A View from the View
Jared McCormick, Harvard University

Discussant: Nicholas B. Bauch, University of Oklahoma

Session Abstract:
While print has long been the accepted, and required, format for academic publications, in recent years there has been a movement to disseminate photographic research and archives online. The increase in the costs of print media has resulted in the decrease in production at academic publishers. And who can afford these photography books now anyway?

More important, however, is the search for new ways to interpret and provide broader access to photographic collections. This has led museums, libraries, archives, and scholars to develop innovative and thought-provoking digital projects. These projects offer great potential for creating an interdisciplinary and international forum for rethinking photography's impact on both art and the formulation of visual culture.
How might we look at photographs differently? In this session, participants will demonstrate how their websites present photographic material in ways that go beyond, "Here are our photographs. Do with them what you may."

How might new tools from the digital humanities and GIS mapping enable us to think creatively about photography and visual culture? What is the proper balance between access, interpretation, and didacticism? Project presentations and theoretical papers from across academic disciplines, including projects developed with students, as well as from museums, library archives, and independent research, are all welcome.