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Thread: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

  1. #1
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    I'm starting this thread after looking at some great photos of architecture and bridges and parks on other threads on LFPF and many of them are of historic sites. And many will get thrown out when we die. (Sorry about the harsh reality but few of us will become our own trademarked legacy industry like Ansel Adams TM).

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    How cool would it be to tell your peers that your work is in the Library of Congress?

    It's very cool. And so is the chance to plant your tripod feet in the divots of Julius Shulman, Marvin Rand, Ezra Stoller, and even Ansel Adams to document buildings that they photographed when new and which are now historic landmarks.

    Just follow the strict archival photography guidelines and learn a little about the history of the subject you are photographing and donate a set of negatives and contact prints to the Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record, or Historic American Landscapes Survey. ( HABS/HAER/HALS ).

    The negatives will be kept in a high tech curated facility in cold storage at Fort Meade in Maryland for their 500+ year life expectancy, and the contact prints will be available for the public to see in the Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress in the Madison Building in Washington DC, along side the FSA images of Ansel Adams TM, Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange.

    More information about the guidelines can be found by searching:
    HABS/HAER/HALS Photography Guidelines
    2019 link: https://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/PhotoGuidelines.pdf

    There are a bunch of experienced HHH photographers on this forum and I've now done over 100 documentations to HHH standards so ask me anything.

    From the Heritage Documentations Programs Site: Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP), part of the National Park Service, administers HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey), the Federal Government’s oldest preservation program, and companion programs HAER (Historic American Engineering Record), and HALS (Historic American Landscapes Survey). Documentation produced through the programs constitutes one of the nation’s largest archives of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation. Records on over 40,000 historic sites, consisting of large-format, black and white photographs, measured drawings, and written historical reports, are maintained in a special collection at the Library of Congress, available to the public copyright free in both hard copy (at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Reading Room) and electronic formats (via the Library of Congress' website: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/).
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  2. #2
    David Schaller
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Thanks for posting this Stephen. I’m very glad that you, and others, are making this effort. I may try to give it a shot, although I’m not sure I have the technical skills....
    Dave

  3. #3

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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Yep, all those fine folks with the LOC and Government get paid yet still expect so many to give them work for nothing.
    It is fine if you really want to do so.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  4. #4
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Dave, I’m sure if you can expose film, have a 4x5 and can make a contact print you can do this HHH stuff. The point of my post was to invite curious photographers to try. The guidelines are long but totally achievable and there are a bunch of photogs here that can help with everything from contact paper to negative writing pens to buffered envelopes.

    I suggest starting with a National Register site or a building that was already documented in your area 70 years ago.

    If you do a site that’s already historic then you can use that info when you send in the photos. If you pick a site already recorded in 1933 or 1944 or 1955 or etc., etc. then it’s called an addendum and all you have to do is add to the record where the previous photog left off.
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  5. #5
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    Yep, all those fine folks with the LOC and Government get paid yet still expect so many to give them work for nothing.
    It is fine if you really want to do so.
    Willie,
    They aren’t asking.
    The National Park Service has been running HABS since 1933 without expecting work for nothing. I just think it’s good they are allowing talented photographers to share their vision with people in the future who may be interested in history.

    No need to participate.
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  6. #6

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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    Willie,
    They aren’t asking.
    The National Park Service has been running HABS since 1933 without expecting work for nothing. I just think it’s good they are allowing talented photographers to share their vision with people in the future who may be interested in history.

    No need to participate.
    Did not say they are out beating the bushes asking for free images.

    They are all paid and graciously "allow" you to give your work for free. Shows the real attitude toward the work and those who provide it. Next we'll see you labeled a "content provider".

    You can donate, but there is no "should" in this one.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  7. #7

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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    > can make a contact print

    You can also scan and do a digital "contact print", i.e., a digital print on archive paper the size of a contact print. I have only done 1 HABS job a few years back and sorted out the digital options since I had not had a printing lab in decades.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Doesn't the LOC accept anything?

    https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf
    sin eater

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