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

  1. #11
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: HABS HAER HALS photography in 2023

    Not a dead link, our government is busy revising, as they clearly post


    Please post your links

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    I haven't given this thread as much attention as I was planning when I posted it. In light of my recent AD&P podcast interview I have gotten a couple emails about HABS, HAER, HALS photography and I figured if I answer them here they'll be more useful. I'm not sure of the quoted dead link below, but the HABS-HAER-HALS (H3) guidelines PDF can be downloaded from the National Park Service by searching for Heritage Documentation Programs HABS/HAER/HALS Photography Guidelines
    Tin Can

  2. #12

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

    Stephen, I think you metioned in the AD&P podcast that you were making your living doing HABS. Are you being hired by private clients who are paying you to document historic buildings?
    Do you then go ahead on your own accord to donate the images to the LOC? I'm missing a piece of the puzzle on how this works as a paid way to contribute to the LOC archive.
    Historical buildings and landscapes are near and dear to my interests, so am interested in how you are making this work.

  3. #13
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Quote Originally Posted by soboyle View Post
    Stephen, I think you metioned in the AD&P podcast that you were making your living doing HABS. Are you are being hired by private clients who are paying you to document historic buildings?
    Do you then go ahead on your own accord to donate the images to the LOC? I'm missing a piece of the puzzle on how this works as a paid way to contribute to the LOC archive.
    Historical buildings and landscapes are near and dear to my interests, so am interested in how you are making this work.
    Hi Shaun,
    Donating to the LoC allows you to tell clients you have experience doing H3 projects (which you need to get H3 jobs), and you can figure out the technical requirements and the "rules" without a deadline or client, on your own time and if you need to reshoot, no big deal.
    Private clients or government agencies must often do H3 mitigations in order to complete a project, and then they must hire an experienced photographer/architect/historian at significant cost to produce the records and transmit them through a bureaucratic process to the NPS regional office. These jobs sometimes take 6 months to over a year to complete and it's not a great way to do a first "HABS job."

    Since my first HABS job in 2003 (when I had to type H.A.B.S. into the Ask Jeeves search engine), I have steadily built a clientele of architectural historians, cultural resource management companies, and global environmental firms with architectural and archeological compliance departments. I was already making a living as a full-time commercial photographer, moved into architecture photography for developers, and now do around 70% HABS/HAER/HALS work and 30% digital architecture. Like I intimated on the podcast, it took around 5 years to get a few clients and another 5 years to get enough to call it a specialty and 20 years to call it a career. For the typical LF photographer with a 4x5 or 5x7 it's a good way to archive your work in the Library of Congress (and brag to friends at dinner parties) and maybe make some money to pay for a project photographing history or pay for a lens or camera to extend your ability. Mostly it allows you to justify to your significant other the investment in LF gear and a darkroom, which is priceless.

    On the downside to looking at H3 photography as a future career, even though the program has been around since the New Deal in 1933, HABS/HAER/HALS may soon be transitioning to a "Born-Digital" standard, potentially meaning a ~ $50,000 investment in medium format technical shift cameras, Digitar lenses and tethered laptops will be the technical replacement for the state-of-the-art-1985 4x5/5x7 film cameras... so I wouldn't invest in LF kit as a long term plan. At least my tripod will be compatible.

    -Schaf
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  4. #14
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    Re: HABS HAER HALS photography in 2023

    Sorry TIN CAN I changed my post but I'm not a fan of links (especially government links) that I know will change and go dead so searching for the latest keywords will probably provide a better outcome in a decade.
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  5. #15
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    sMart computer AI will improve search up to date

    but they will also lose bit by bit

    that is a pun

    even our members are in a hurry to clean their bits and prints for eternity by destroying most pics

    I lay a big mess

    451
    Tin Can

  6. #16
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Shaun, I looked at your website and your work would fit right into the HABS/HAER archives. I neglected to mention that one of the nice things about HABS/HAER/HALS donation is that you can pull LF negatives that were already taken of a historic location, give them an extra archival wash with Orbit Bath (if not already archival) and send them to NPS with a contact print and a caption. Especially easy when you have images to add to an existing record Like HAER-NV-27. (The addendum process lets you add additional work to existing records back to 1934.)

    I will be sending 5x7 negs from 2022's low water levels at Lake Mead to add to Jet Lowe's HAER photographs of the Hoover Dam at regular water level from 1998. I was able to shoot from the same locations for this and other views, in this case I had to switch to a 72mmXL (Jet probably used a 121mm horizontally) and drop the front beyond the max, to show the water... it's a startling difference. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/item/nv0244/

    Click image for larger version. 

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    HAER Photograph by Stephen Schafer of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead HAER-NV-27 July 2022.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Public Domain HAER photograph by Jet Lowe, Hoover Dam, 1993
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  7. #17

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

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    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. . .
    Back to TC's question, do they accept everything, as long as it meets the guidelines? If not, how does one know what content they're willing to accept?

    Put another way, how does one know which buildings are of interest to them. I would hate to put a lot of time into documenting something I believe to be worthy, just to have it rejected because the NPS regards it as unneeded.

    Do they have a list of historically worthy buildings that haven't yet been documented?

  8. #18
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    Do they have a list of historically worthy buildings that haven't yet been documented?
    You could ask your local preservation group if there are any worthy candidates or threatened sites in your area. There are more historic sites that have not been recorded than places that have, and historic preservationists love lists. Start with National Historic Landmarks, NHLs. Next there are sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places on the National level, then NRHP sites on the State Level, and then local level. Most if not all states have a state register of cultural resources like the California Register of Historic Resources. Then there are local lists like city and county landmarks, man made wonders, slave cabins, Native American sites, the Panama Canal, or even American World War cemeteries in Europe and the Philippines. There is a Historic Landscapes society, and a society of structural engineers, historic bridge registry, National Barn Alliance, historic movie theater registry, railroad museums, maritime museums, and historic ball parks, the possibilities are endless.
    Another route is to take a look at the HABS list online: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/

    Type in your city, or county and see what has been documented, often a building like the Santa Barbara Presidio adobe buildings will show up having been photographed in 1933 by the first HABS photographers (often with only one sheet of film). See if the buildings still exist and they will probably be ready for an update. (I did an addendum to the Santa Barbara Presidio adobes during Covid lockdowns).
    Or you could work it backwards and find an old site and ask the local historic society or even the internet if it is historically significant. The HABS collection was built around the idea of being "A complete resume of the builder's art" as stated in the 1933 HABS circular.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Or you could find a building you think is historic and significant and prove it is, like the tiny 1947 Top Hat Hot Dog Stand that I photographed in 2010, donated the photos, captions and keymaps to HABS, and I proceeded to nominate the metal stand to the California Register of Historic Resources. It was not listed anywhere when I recorded it for HABS.

    Mary McPartland at the Heritage Documentation Programs office of the National Park Service is the contact to make sure all your ducks are in order, after you are sure your photographs will meet the guidelines, call her to discuss your chosen site and donation plans. Donation info is here on my HABS HAER HALS FAQ blog: https://schafphoto.typepad.com/habs_...donations.html
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  9. #19

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

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    Hi Shaun,
    Donating to the LoC allows you to tell clients you have experience doing H3 projects (which you need to get H3 jobs), and you can figure out the technical requirements and the "rules" without a deadline or client, on your own time and if you need to reshoot, no big deal.
    Private clients or government agencies must often do H3 mitigations in order to complete a project, and then they must hire an experienced photographer/architect/historian at significant cost to produce the records and transmit them through a bureaucratic process to the NPS regional office. These jobs sometimes take 6 months to over a year to complete and it's not a great way to do a first "HABS job."

    Since my first HABS job in 2003 (when I had to type H.A.B.S. into the Ask Jeeves search engine), I have steadily built a clientele of architectural historians, cultural resource management companies, and global environmental firms with architectural and archeological compliance departments. I was already making a living as a full-time commercial photographer, moved into architecture photography for developers, and now do around 70% HABS/HAER/HALS work and 30% digital architecture. Like I intimated on the podcast, it took around 5 years to get a few clients and another 5 years to get enough to call it a specialty and 20 years to call it a career. For the typical LF photographer with a 4x5 or 5x7 it's a good way to archive your work in the Library of Congress (and brag to friends at dinner parties) and maybe make some money to pay for a project photographing history or pay for a lens or camera to extend your ability. Mostly it allows you to justify to your significant other the investment in LF gear and a darkroom, which is priceless.

    On the downside to looking at H3 photography as a future career, even though the program has been around since the New Deal in 1933, HABS/HAER/HALS may soon be transitioning to a "Born-Digital" standard, potentially meaning a ~ $50,000 investment in medium format technical shift cameras, Digitar lenses and tethered laptops will be the technical replacement for the state-of-the-art-1985 4x5/5x7 film cameras... so I wouldn't invest in LF kit as a long term plan. At least my tripod will be compatible.

    -Schaf
    Any indication when the transition to digital might happen, and what the equipment spec requirements might be? Who makes that decision?

  10. #20
    Small town, South Carolina, US
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    Re: You (Yes, You) Should Donate to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

    Transition to digital is short sighted in my opinion.

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