Interpreting DAC Digital Images, Phase 2
The second direct-capture phase of the DAC Digital Imaging Initiative produced images with fewer artifacts of the capture process (if a link from an image page led you here, this information pertains to the image on that page).
The barrel distortion and moiré effects seen in some images from the first phase of the initiative are largely absent from these images, but certain issues do affect them. As the project progresses, we're working to develop procedures for addressing remaining factors such as glare in some highly glossy photographic prints and, as may be seen in some of the Rembrandt images shown on pages that link to this page, light falloff towards the corners of certain images (this localized underexposure is the result of a conjuncture of certain working parameters with the one lens available for the phase of the project that produced these images).
It is important to remember the unavoidable effects of preparing--translating, as it were--images for viewing on the Web. In editing these images, we try to balance faithful representation of original objects (philosophically our first priority) and legibility on screen (pragmatically crucial for obvious reasons). The chief issues here have to do with color balance and the ways in which dark and light tones appear on different viewers' computer screens.
When studying these images, it's important to keep in mind that tonal rendering varies tremendously from monitor to monitor. Images from this phase of the project have been processed using LaCie electron22blueII (set to "PC" gamma of 2.2) and 17" Apple CRT (set to "Mac" gamma of 1.8) displays calibrated with an EyeOne colorimetric sensor); but for most viewers, the present-day effects of these measures are limited because many monitors used for web browsing are wildly out of calibration.
Because of this, any interpretation of color values or tonal density in these images should be undertaken with caution. More reliable are visual analyses based on observations of such things as the marks with which a printmaker created an image, broader aspects of visual design, and iconographic content. One last warning: you may wish to attend to the dimensions of the original works, in order to try to see imaginatively past the leveling effect of viewing all images at a standard size on your computer screen.