Fiber Artist Grethe Wittrock Studio Visit: from Denmark to DC

Artist Grethe Witthrock's Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrock’s Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015

I had the pleasure of photographing Danish fiber artist Grethe Wittrock‘s work in advance of her solo show Grethe Wittrock: Nordic Currents at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts September 12, 2015 – January 31, 2016.

As a photographer, people often make the mistake of thinking the only thing I appreciate and study is photography and documentary photography at that.  Nothing could be further from the truth, I am most inspired by painting, nature, literature and music and appreciate art in all its forms.  I’m also very interested in why people make art, how they sustain their practice, and what inspires them.  I was quite taken with Grethe’s work. She recently moved to DC from Denmark for her husband’s work, and has already set up shop in the fabulous Okie Street artist studios in NE, one of the rapidly changing areas in DC.

Grethe Wittrock's space in the Okie Street artist studios. © Susana Raab 2015

Grethe Wittrock’s space in the Okie Street artist studios.
© Susana Raab 2015

I asked Grethe if she’d do a Q&A in advance of her show, and despite her busy schedule she agreed.

Artist Grethe Witthrock's Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrock’s Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015

LU: Please tell us a bit about your work.

GW: Over the years, I became fascinated with the interplay of the sea, the sky, the wind, the birds, and the sails. Since Denmark is surrounded by these elements and I walk along the shores, I observed all these things. I wanted to incorporate them in my art. So I created large bird wing sculptures, created in weather beaten used sails, which I cut, painted and sculpted.

LU: Did you always know you wanted to pursue an artistic career; how did that come about?

GW: No, actually I wanted to become an archaeologist, maybe that’s where my love for stones and earth and structures in nature comes from.

I guess I could have chosen to become a ceramicist as well, but ended choosing to apply to get into the textile department at the Danish Design School in Copenhagen back in 1987.

© Susana Raab 2015

© Susana Raab 2015

LU: Why fiber arts? How did working with sailcloth come about?

GW: Because I could work with structures, layers, surface changes and imitate the wonders I saw in nature, for example the lime grass at the coast.

In 2008/2009 I worked for 2 years creating a large expensive gold wall hanging in a small studio next to Empire State Building. The photographer, Finn Føns, a Danish photographer living in New York, took the official photo of the gold wall hanging. When I visited his home, I saw his large photos of the Danish trainee vessel Georg Stage, with its enormous sails.

I immediately got struck by the beauty and rawness of these sails and felt it would be the right medium for me to work in for my next project. I needed a more raw and tough material after the years with extremely fine gold threads and delicate handwork.

Detail: Grethe Wittrock's fiber art. © Susana Raab 2015

Detail: Grethe Wittrock’s fiber art.
© Susana Raab 2015

LU: what is it you hope to achieve through your work?

GW: To succeed in combining rawness with poetry.

Artist Grethe Witthrocke's work in her Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrocke’s work in her Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015

LU: Your pieces have a beautiful sculptural quality to them – what are your sources of inspiration? sculpture? Painting? books? music?

GW: One of my inspirations is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci ”The Annunciation” where the angel is kneeling in front of the Virgin Mary-and the interesting thing is that the wing of the angel is an anatomic correct imitation of a bird wing. I have had that painting in mind many times when sculpting the bird-wing-sculptures.

LU: How do you find yourself in Washington and how is the exhibit? Are there many spaces for artists back home?

GW: I moved to Washington in January 2015 because my husband got a job as senior advisor on climate and energy at the Danish Embassy, and it was a great chance for me to get closer to the American audience, and a big chance for me to show my work in a museum.

Yes, there are many fine exhibition spaces in Denmark, but the commercial galleries hesitate to take a chance on that area, where they consider my works belong, somewhere between art, craft and design. America is much more open for fiber art, there are a much wider audience and awareness and appreciation of the medium in the states.

Thank you Grethe! I wish you much success for your show! See more of Grethe’s work at

Artist Grethe Witthrocke's work in her Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrocke’s work in her Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015

Maysles Film Festival @ National Gallery of Art in DC All Summer Long! @ngadc

My cup runneth over. Who needs that vote, when at least they are taxing us and giving us a Maysles Brother Filmfest.  All. Summer. Long. In the cool, hallowed halls of the National Gallery of Art, or more specifically the movie theater. Because who needs to be outside in the middle of the day in a DC summer. Am I right here?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the oeuvre of the dynamic fraternal documentary duo, they are so much more than Grey Gardens, the documentary regarding reclusive mentally ill wasps related to Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy (I know you might be thinking that reclusive mentally-ill wasp is a redundant statement, and I left out alcoholic, but hey, I’m trying to cut down on the personal disclosures labelling.)

Here’s the 411. Also, of course, I was exaggerating that I would prefer a filmfest to my constitutionally mandated vote in Congress.  Oh, to have one’s cake and eat it too:

Maysles Films Inc.: Performing Vérité

July 5–August 2

Albert Maysles (1926–2015) and his brother David (1931–1987) expanded the artistic possibilities for direct cinema by espousing “the eye of the poet” as a factor in shooting and editing cinéma vérité. Their trademark approach — capturing action spontaneously and avoiding a point of view — became, for a time, the very definition of documentary. This series focuses on their interest in art and performance and includes several screenings in original 16mm format. It is presented as a tribute to Albert Maysles, who died in March, 2015. Al often visited the National Gallery of Art; his wife Gillian Walker was the daughter of former Gallery director John Walker. Special thanks to Jake Perlin and Rebekah Maysles.

Albert Maysles (far right) and David Maysles during the production of Salesman, 1968
courtesy Maysles Films Inc.

  • Soldiers of Music — Rostropovich Returns to Russia
    July 5 at 4:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    In 1990, Albert Maysles accompanied cellist and National Symphony Orchestra conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya to their native Russia, their first trip in the course of a long exile. Soldiers of Music chronicles this historic reunion, as the couple is treated to a passionate, poignant homecoming. (Albert Maysles, Susan Froemke, Peter Gelb, and Bob Eisenhardt, 1991, 88 minutes)

  • Horowitz Plays Mozart preceded by Anastasia
    July 10 at 2:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    Horowitz Plays Mozart documents a legendary moment in the life of pianist Vladimir Horowitz: his first studio recording with a symphony orchestra in more than thirty years. He agreed to record with Milan’s La Scala Philharmonic but refused to allow any rehearsals to be filmed, until the very last one. (Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Susan Froemke, and Charlotte Zwerin, 1987, 50 minutes)

    Anastasia, created at the height of the Cold War for the 1960s NBC news program Update — was an early Maysles work-for-hire about the dancer Anastasia Stevens, the only American in the Bolshoi Ballet. (1962, 8 minutes)

  • Meet Marlon Brando preceded by Salvador Dalí’s Fantastic Dream
    July 11 at 2:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    Meet Marlon Brando captures the actor at age forty, confronting journalists (in both English and French) with his typical wit and charisma on the subject of a new film project. (1965, 29 minutes)

    Dalí worked briefly to publicize the New York release of Richard Fleischer’s 1966 Fantastic Voyage. His campaign was documented by the Maysles brothers, then edited into the short subject Salvador Dalí’s Fantastic Dream (complete with cameo appearance from Raquel Welch, the artist’s muse at the time). (1966, 8 minutes)

  • Jessye Norman Sings Carmen preceded by Orson Welles in Spain
    July 11 at 3:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    Jessye Norman Sings Carmen is a gripping vérité study of the famous dramatic soprano’s approach to mastering Bizet’s heroine in recording sessions with Seiji Ozawa and the Orchestre National de France. Musical segments include performances of three arias and the great duets between Carmen and Don José (Neil Shicoff). (Albert Maysles and Susan Froemke, 1989, 57 minutes)

    Orson Welles in Spain catches the famous director pitching his ideas for an unusual film on a bullfighter. In classic fashion, the garrulous Welles pontificates on the art of the bullfight and on the state of the cinema. (1966, 10 minutes)

  • What’s Happening! The Beatles in the USA
    July 12 at 4:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    The Maysleses’ freewheeling account of the Fab Four’s first visit to the United States in February 1964 follows their historic tour for five days — from the riotous JFK airport reception to candid moments inside the Plaza Hotel to their historic Ed Sullivan Show appearance. (1964, 81 minutes)

  • The Gates preceded by Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece
    July 19 at 4:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates — twenty-three miles of orange fabric-strewn arches positioned in Central Park — were on view in February 2005 for a fleeting sixteen days. As the grandest public art project in Manhattan’s history, The Gates required twenty-five years to steer through the New York bureaucracy. The final product thrilled the world. Quipped Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “I’ve never understood why anybody was against it.” (Antonio Ferrera, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Matthew Prinzing, 2007, 87 minutes)

    Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece documents the artist’s 1965 performance at Carnegie Hall, with Ono sitting motionless on the stage as audience members were invited to come forward and cut away bits of her clothing. (1965, 8 minutes)

  • Sally Gross: The Pleasure of Stillness
    July 23 at 3:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    New York choreographer Sally Gross — a former Judson Dance Theater member who was cast by Robert Frank in Pull My Daisy — is the subject of Maysles’s film on her stillflourishing career. The title echoes Gross’s work of the same name, which emerged from a Buddhist practice and her own peaceful center. (Albert Maysles and Kristen Nutile, 2007, 58 minutes)

  • Christo in Paris
    July 24 at 2:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s first urban wrapping was the medieval Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris and site of the two artists’ courtship. While relating their love story, Christo in Paris also chronicles Christo’s flight from his family home in Bulgaria. (Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Deborah Dickson, and Susan Froemke, 1990, 58 minutes)

  • With Love from Truman followed by Accent on the Offbeat
    July 26 at 4:00
    West Building Lecture Hall

    Truman Capote reveals his personal thoughts on his book In Cold Blood, in a new genre he dubbed the nonfiction novel, “turning reality into art.” (Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin, 1966, 29 minutes).

    In Accent on the Offbeat a dance and music collaboration unfolds at the New York City Ballet, with original choreography by Peter Martins and musical score by Wynton Marsalis. (Albert Maysles, Susan Froemke, and Deborah Dickson, 1994, 56 minutes)

  • Grey Gardens
    August 1 at 1:00
    East Building Large Auditorium

    The now-famous aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Edith Ewing Bouvier and Edie Bouvier Beale, lived out their lives in a ramshackle Long Island estate. In 1975, while preparing for a film on Lee Radziwill, Albert and David Maysles arrived at the Beale household and at once became immersed in the lives of its extraordinary inhabitants. Criticized at first for exploiting the two women, Grey Gardens is now hailed as one of the greatest nonfiction works of the twentieth century. “So many people in other ways have had more successful lives. But who among their neighbors would ever be as successful a character in a movie as these two women?” — Albert Maysles. (Albert Maysles and David Maysles, 1976, 95 minutes)

  • Salesman
    August 1 at 3:00
    East Building Large Auditorium

    Four average American men making a marginal living by hawking bibles in working-class neighborhoods are the subjects of the Maysleses’ beautifully crafted feature documentary — a masterwork of American nonfiction. As the film progresses, it becomes apparent that one of the four, Paul Brennan, has lost his knack to make the pitch and perform, and the camera tracks this apparent crisis. Albert and David Maysles traveled with the team of four, befriended them, and remained in touch for many years. (Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin, 1968, 91 minutes)

  • Gimme Shelter
    August 2 at 4:00
    East Building Large Auditorium

    David and Albert Maysles’s footage from the last of the epic 1960s rock ’n’ roll concerts symbolized the demise of the era’s counterculture and, as Pauline Kael cynically noted, “hit the cinema vérité jackpot.” As the concert — which featured, among others, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Rolling Stones — was winding down, the infamous murder of Meredith Hunter was inadvertently captured on camera. “We structured our film around what actually happened; what came out was a surprise to us as well” — Albert Maysles. (Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin, 1970, 71 minutes)

Internship opportunities available at The Contemporary in Baltimore, MD: Go For It!

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 6.01.00 PM

Shite. I just got this announcement or I would have posted sooner.  Totally unacceptable to have 24 hours to do an ap. HOWEVER that said, Deanna Haggag, the Director of The Contemporary in Baltimore has been attracting notice. And it is not your usual museum. It does not collect work so there’s that and is more experiential is my feeling though I have not attended any of the programming so can’t speak to experience.

But what can I say is interning in a museum is a great way to acquaint yourself to the wonderful world of the arts and cultural heritage and I highly recommend it.  You’d be in Baltimore and they don’t call it Charm City for naught.

Good luck.

Online application here.


 The internship provides an opportunity for individuals to learn about the operation of a nomadic, non-collecting museum focused on site-specific and subject-oriented projects in Baltimore. Interns will work closely with our small staff to carry out projects and facilitate our Speaker Series that brings internationally-recognized artists, critics, and art professionals to Baltimore. Interns are responsible for producing an issue of our annual intern publication, Scroll. The Contemporary offers each intern a stipend. Additionally, academic credit may be arranged with the intern’s college/university– student status, however, is not a prerequisite for consideration.

The Artists Guide and other a related books: A Bibliography and Reading List

Eudora Welty's Library, Jackson, MIssissippi  © Susana Raab from the series A Sense of Place

Eudora Welty’s Library, Jackson, MIssissippi © Susana Raab from the series A Sense of Place

So the ICP Library Blog published a good bibliography of photographer/artist related books. I’m reading the Artists Guide by Jackie Battenfield right now and it is a good resource.  I’m putting the rest of the list here so I have something to refer back to, thanks to ICP intern Sadie Hope-Gund for compiling this list:

Vocational Guidance for Artists

  • Art-work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue your Art Career, by Heather Darcy Bhandari. (Free Press, 2009) [N6505.B53 2009]
  • How To Grow as a Photographer, by Tony Luna. (Allworth Press, 2006) [TR154.L85 2006]
  • The Real Business of Photography, by Richard Wiesgrau. (ASMP, 2004) [TR581.W45 2004]
  • Taking the Leap: Building Your Career as a Visual Artist, by Cay Lang. (Chronicle Books, 2006) [TR581.L352 2006]
  • A Practical Handbook for the Emerging Artist, by Margaret R Lazzari. (Harcourt College Publishers, 2002) [N6505.L39 2002]
  • Photojournalism, by Fred S. Parrish. (Wadsworth/Thomson Learning 2001) [TR820.P37 2001]
  • The Photographer’s Assistant Handbook, by Matt Proulx. (Focal Press, 2000) [TR154.P76 2000]
  • The Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism, by Howard Chapnick. (University of Missouri Press, 1994) [TR820.C43 1994]
  • Letters to a Young Artist, by Gregory Amenoff. (Darte Publishing, 2006) [TR154.L47 2006]
  • Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work, by Ariane Goodwin. (Infinity Publishing, 2006) [TR581.G66 2002]
  • The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, by Peter Krogh. (O’Reilly, 2009) [TR267.K76 2009]
  • Creating Connections: Museums and the Public Understanding of Current Research, by David Chittenden. (AltaMira Press, 2004) [TR183.C452 2004]
  • Publish Your Photo Book: A Guide to Self-Publishing , by Bill Owens. (Morgan and Morgan, 1979) [TR147.O93 1979]
  • Teaching Photography: Tools for the Imaging Educator, by Glenn Rand. (Focal, 2006) [TR161.R35 2006]
  • Photography: Foundations for Art and Design, by Mark Galer. (Focal, 2007) [TR147.G35 2007]

Creative Thinking and Inspiration

  • Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style, by Alain Briot. (O’Reilly Media, 2009) [TR179.B75 2009]
  • Artist Communities: A Directory of Residencies That Offer Time and Space for Creativity, by Deborah Obalil and Caitlin S. Glass (Allworth Press, 2005) [NX110.A78 2005]
  • Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity, by Lawrence Lessig. (Penguin Books, 2004) [TR187.L471 2004]
  • Chic Clicks: Creativity and Commerce in Contemporary Fashion Photography, by Fred Aufray. (Insitute of Contemporary Art, 2002) [TR679.C45 2002]
  • Visual Thinking: Methods for Making Images Memorable, by Henry Wolf. (Rizzoli International Publications, 1988) [TR179.W651 1988]
  • Photography Q&A, by Zack Arias. (New Riders, 2013) [TR147.A73 2013]
  • The Joy of Photography, by Eastman Kodak Company. (Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1991) [TR147.J69 1991]
  • Reframing Photography, by Rebekah Modrak. (Routledge, 2011) [TR161.M63 2011]
  • The Creative Photographer, by John Ingledew. (Harry N. Abrams, 2005) [TR146.I35 2005]
  • Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs, by Ansel Adams. (Little Brown,1983) [TR161.A32 1983]
  • Experimental Formats.2, by Roger Fawcett-Tang. (RotoVision, 2005) [TR147.F38 2005]

Business & Marketing

  • ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography, by American Society of Media Photographers (Allworth Press, 2001) [TR581.M]
  • Artists’ Books Creative Production and Marketing, by Sarah Bodman (Impact Press, 2005) [TR179.5.B64 .A78 2007]
  • How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, by Caroll Michels. (Henry Holt and Co., 2009) [N6505.M46 2009]
  • Marketing and Selling Black & White Portrait Photography, by Helen T. Boursier. (Amherst Media, 2000). [TR581.B68 2000]
  • Photographer’s Market 2004: 2000 Places to Sell Your Photographs, by Donna Poehner. (David & Charles, 2003) [TR12.P46 2004]
  • Photographer’s Market Guide to Building Your Photography Buisness, by VIK Orenstein. (Writer’s Digest Books, 2004) [TR581.O73 2004]
  • Publish Your Photography Book, by Darius Himes. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011) [TR145.H55 2011]
  • The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love, by Jackie Battenfield. (De Capo Press, 2009) [TR581.B37 2009]
  • Print-On-Demand Book Publishing, by Morris Rosenthal. (Foner Books, 2004) [TR581.R674 2004]
  • The Professional Photographer’s Management Handbook, by Ann Monteith. (Marathon Press,1999) [TR154.M65 1999]
  • The Photographer’s Market Guide to Photo Submission and Portfolio Formats, by Michael Willins. (Writer’s Digest Books, 1997) [TR690.W55 1997]
  • The Business of Studio Photography, by Edward R Lilley. (Allworth Press, 1997) [TR581.L55 1997]
  • Professional Photographer’s Survival Guide, by Charles E. Rotkin. (Writer’s Digest Books, 1992) [TR690.R68 1992]
  • The Photographer’s Assistant, by John Kieffer. (Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, 1992) [TR690.2.K54 1992]
  • Mastering the Business of Photography, by Tony Luna. (Allworth Press, 2014) [TR581.L85 2014]
  • Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, by Lawrence Lessig. (Penguin Press, 2008) [TR187.L471 2008]
  • The Photographer’s Guide to Negotiating, by Richard Wiesgrau. (Allworth Press, 2005) [TR581.W45 2005]
  • The Real Business of Photography, by Richard Weisgrau. (ASMP, 2004) [TR581.W45 2004]

Legal and Financial

  • Demystifying Grant Seeking, by Larissa Golden Brown. (Jossey-Bass, 2001) [TR581.B76 2001]
  • Licensing Photography, by Richard Weisgrau. (Allworth Press, 2006) [TR581.W45 2006]
  • Licensing Art & Design, by Caryn R Leland. (North Light Books, 1995) [TR581.L45 1995]
  • Business and Legal Forms for Photographers, by Tad Crawford. (Allworth Press, 2002) [TR146.C73 2002]
  • To Be or Not To Be: An Artist’s Guide to Not-For-Profit Incorporation, by VLA (Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts, 1982) [TR822.T63 1982]

New Work in American Photography 31

Untitled, Natchez, Mississippi

Untitled, Natchez, Mississippi © Susana Raab 2015

Untitled, Natchez, Mississippi

I have been remiss in sharing the news that I had a couple of images chosen for AP31.  The first is a new project I have been working on intermittently in Natchez, Mississippi and involves a lot of fine Paris china.  The South is such loaded territory for photographers. On one hand, there is this sort of fetishization of its gothic past lingering in the present, of which I am guilty of exploiting.  I am drawn to the place, since first reading Faulkner, O’Connor, Welty, Percy, Larry Brown, in that order.  The loving in-spite-of not because-of; the past reaching into the future, silently undulating in co-centric circles to your present; the unacknowledged shadow looming over everything – all resonate with me, and I suspect with many who pursue the Southern route – we cultural carpet-baggers seeking redemption.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this project, but I don’t feel under the same constraints I did when I was younger to have it all tied-up neatly at this stage. My projects ferment for a long time. And while I am sure this is partially due to procrastination, it is also due to my need for reflection.  Also I like to work on a lot of projects at once.  And I’m sure part of it is that it is extremely painful for me to finish these things – to say goodbye.

A prime example of this, is my project Cholita.  An image from which was also honored in AP31 (it was first published last year in EnFoco’s Nueva Luz):

Familia, Huanchaco, Peru, 2011
Familia, Huanchaco, Peru © Susana Raab 2015

I am probably done shooting it, but to sit down with the work and properly examine and mediate it, sort the text etc, feels like more than I can possibly bear.  So I am holding myself accountable here, that I am using this month of my birthday to sit with the work and frame my narrative, to close that door and every possibility it contained. It is time.

Job Opening in Andover, MA with Northeast Document Conservation Center

Sometimes I think there is no more noble calling than saving precious artifacts for future generations.  The person who fills this role will I assume be taking over this role. Here’s the 411:

Screen shot 2015-04-21 at 7.02.19 AM

Position Summary The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is hiring a full-time Photographer to join the Imaging Services department.

Founded in 1973, NEDCC is a not-for-profit conservation and preservation services center, supporting the collections of its private and institutional clients through book, paper, and photograph conservation, digital reformatting, and preservation assistance. The successful candidate will be joining a team of experienced and productive photographers, and will benefit from working alongside conservators and specialists dedicated to the treatment and care of the range of objects the Imaging Services department digitizes.

The Photographer will be charged principally with the digital reformatting of the extensive, diverse and unique collections held by NEDCC’s institutional and private clients. These include virtually all photographic media, particularly nitrate, acetate, and glass-plate negatives, X-ray film, and daguerreotypes; bound and loose manuscript material; rare books and illuminated manuscripts; and oversized items such as maps and blueprints. To this end, the Imaging Services department utilizes medium format and SLR digital camera systems; copystands; custom stations for imaging oversized, transmissive, and bound materials; Broncolor strobes; a GE X-ray film scanner; Epson wide format printers; Eizo displays; and a color managed workflow. While we are primarily Mac-based we also use PCs, and maintain our own network, server, and archive.

Responsibilities Reporting to the Director of Imaging Services, the Photographer will:  As needed, establish ideal environmental conditions for digitally photographing a project’s specific material types.  Digitally capture archival and special collection materials.  Apply standard post-capture image adjustments such as rotation and cropping, neutralizing color, and inverting and enhancing negatives.  On a project-by-project basis, perform complex post-capture image adjustments and processing, including file stitching and digital restoration.  Print high-quality reproductions of digitally captured files.  Always strive for process and image quality improvements within individual projects.  Collaborate with colleagues to identify the most efficient workflows for digitizing materials safely, while also maintaining the highest standards of quality.  Track project status and submit daily production reports.  Adhere to NEDCC hours of service without exception.  Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications  Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline.  Experience or training in the handling of rare and fragile paper-based materials.  1-3 years’ experience digitally reformatting archival and special collection materials or works of art.  Proficiency in the use of imaging hardware, particularly digital medium format and SLR camera systems, and flatbed or film scanners.  Knowledge of studio lighting equipment and techniques.  Experience using RAW workflow software such as Lightroom or CaptureOne, and editing software such as Photoshop.  Strong eye for color, value, composition, and visual accuracy.  Demonstrated ability to work under deadlines in a production-oriented environment.  Ability to work both independently and collaboratively.  Exceptional problem solving skills.  Meticulous attention to detail.  Enthusiasm and creativity.

Application Process To apply please send a PDF file containing cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to Terrance D’Ambrosio, Director of Imaging Services, at

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture seeking contractor for object digitization services

NMAAHC “may” be hiring a contractor. Here is what I know:

The National Museum of African American History and Culture may be hiring a contractor to manage object handling, rehousing and digital imaging services. The contractor would be responsible for the following:

  • Digital scanning and photography
  • Using flatbed and overhead scanners and digital cameras to create digital images of collections and other materials
  • Working in Microsoft Word; Microsoft Excel; a museum collection information system, The Museum System (TMS); Adobe Photoshop and Bridge; and other image processing and editing software
  • Handling a wide variety of museum collection objects in compliance with best museum practices, including moving collection objects, unframing, unmatting, reframing, rematting, rehousing, and creating custom housing for museum collection objects
  • Assisting other digital imaging specialists with scanning and photography of collection objects, set ups for scanning and photography, and object handling
  • Processing and editing digital images
  • Embedding metadata into digital images and other digital assets for the SI Digital Asset Management System (DAMS), TMS, and Enterprise Digital Asset Network (EDAN)
  • Creating, modifying, or updating records in DAMS and TMS.
  • Assisting with management of digital assets
  • Working closely with the Museum’s collection management, curatorial, and digitization staff, contractors, volunteers, and interns on the Museum’s digitization initiatives

If interested in the contracting position, please send résumés to We are gathering a pool of applicants and will be in touch with those whose résumés indicate they are the best fit for the position.

Thank you for your time and interest,

Carrie Feldman

Museum Specialist

Office of Curatorial Affairs

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture