Sacred portraits: Photographer makes images for JSP project
C. Andersen says his career photographing Hollywood stars for movie
posters and musicians for album covers pales in comparison to the
portraiture project he is undertaking now.Andersen now takes the most important historical documents in the
archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and makes
"portraits" of them for the volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
__IMAGE1__Original manuscripts of revelations now in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith's pocket diary and other journals,
church ledgers, the printer's manuscript for the Book of Mormon are
all part of Andersen's work. "I'm kind of an eyewitness to history, in
a way," he said of the time he spends with these historical treasures.
The first two volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers Project have been
published so far. The church expects it will take 15 years and a total
of 30 printed volumes to complete the project.
A convergence of the right technology and artistry "came together at
the moment we needed it" to make the photographic images true portraits
and "not just Xerox copies."
On the technology side, the latest 39-megapixel Hasselblad H3DII-39
multishot camera, sophisticated software and computers capable of
working with 288-megabyte raw capture files allow Andersen to make
images so sharp and detailed that individual fibers in the paper are
crisply visible. On the artistic side, the lighting is so carefully
designed that each of those fibers has subtle light-and-shadow detail.
Viewing the overall photograph looks as much as possible like viewing
the original document.
Researchers can examine the documents in greater detail, enlarging
the photographs on a computer screen, than they could by holding the
original and examining it with a magnifying loupe, Andersen said.
About 650 of the images Andersen has captured so far are in the
"Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books" oversized
volume of the Joseph Smith Papers Project released Sept. 22. This
volume is specifically referred to as a "Facsimile Edition" because of
the full-color, full-page photographs. With high-quality images of rare
documents written in Joseph Smith's hand now in print, "I don't have to
tell you who Joseph Smith is. You look at this, and you'll know."
the handwritten revelations for yourself is a powerful spiritual
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