Sacred portraits: Photographer makes images for JSP project

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 21 2009 12:15 a.m. MDT

witness," said Elder Paul K. Sybrowsky, assistant executive director of

the Church History Department. "It brings you closer to the Prophet

Joseph and to these foundational scriptural texts."Andersen does his work in an expansive photo studio deep in the

bowels of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake

City. "There is always somebody from (the Church History) department

with them at all times," Andersen said of the documents he is working

with. "They don't ever just lock the door and leave them behind to go

to lunch."

Robin Jensen is among the core members of the Joseph Smith Papers

Project team who have worked with Andersen, helping position the aging

and fragile books for the camera.

"As someone who obsesses over the slightest features in manuscripts

and their transcriptions, I appreciate Welden's meticulous attention to

detail," said Jensen, an editor of the facsimile edition just released.

"He is a perfect fit within the project, exemplifying the care with

which the Joseph Smith Papers (team) devotes to transcription and

document analysis."

The high-resolution photographs have "both an archival purpose and a

scholarly or investigative purpose," said Ronald K. Esplin, the Joseph

Smith Papers Project's managing editor.

"Shooting at extremely high resolution allows one to see things that

are not visible to the naked eye and to capture detail for archival

purposes that may not be visible even to the camera in another 50

years," Esplin said. "Because the documents will never be more legible

than they are now, it is important that for the most significant

documents we capture and preserve all the data, all the detail, that is

technically feasible to capture."

Photographs of the documents meet the project's current objective of

providing high-quality images for the printed volumes. Just how the

church will make the images available online or through other

electronic delivery is still a work in process, said Church History

spokesman Patrick Dunshee.

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com

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