Project Update: Digitizing The George Hunter Archive

Images of Ontario by George Hunter, RCA - Digitization and Preservation Project
Check out a sneak peek of the digitized Ontario negatives and film transparencies by George Hunter

During the digitization process, our team of students from the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations program along with the Canada Summer jobs initiative have come across a wide range of different sizes of negatives and film transparencies. Our team are using our new Epson V800 and V600 scanners to digitize using film holders and are working with a guide for best practices. A major challenge faced early in the project was related to scanning large negative transparencies. Many were curled due to age and would not fit in the holders, making it difficult to produce high quality digital images. As a resolution we are using newton glass to not only help with newton rings, which is an issue for the large colour transparencies, but also to help keep the large negatives flat for scanning.

The process of pulling the materials for this project to scan requires a significant amount of preparation. This process includes: auditing boxes, assigning accession numbers and creating accurate catalogue records. The materials also need to be placed in proper housing to preserve them for the future. We are custom creating our own negative sleeves while preserving George Hunter’s original envelopes with illustrated labels, titles and dates.

George Hunter shot with a variety of cameras and explored both black and white and colour photography. The George Hunter fonds are diverse with a wide range of photographic materials. Hunter explored and embraced the progression of new photographic inventions and materials. He really did move with the times, starting off with black and white film and moving forward with colour and finally fully embracing the digital era. It is very fitting that CHPF can digitize these images and move forward with Hunter’s vision to share the works of Canadian photographers.

Some highlights from the first one thousand five hundred scans include aerial views of Toronto, parliament buildings, mines, landscapes and portraits. Hunter’s Ontario images call attention to the many industries, developments and changes this province has experienced.

This project has been made possible in part by the government of Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program through Library and Archives Canada.