More fascinating stuff from Alan Clarke and the photographic archive…

Digital resolution!

Much of Salisbury Museum’s image archive consists of film negatives.  For example, the Austin Underwood collection consists of around sixty thousand  2 ¼ inch square individual negatives.  We scan these negatives at 4800 dpi which means they end up as approximately 10,000 by 10,000 pixel jpeg digital images. We have scanned over 6,000 so far.

One such image here shows that Austin had got down onto the railway line.


The railway is long closed, and the cutting, at this point, filled in.  The road over the railway line, with the bus passing, is the road down to Folly Bottom from Boscombe Down (Grid Reference SU168416).  My wife, Ann, looked at this image on my computer screen and asked if I could zoom in and see where the railway line went.  I promptly did so and to my amazement, Amesbury railway station, with its semaphore signals and platform bridge, came into view.  See second image here.


You can see that it was definitely downhill from his vantage point to the station.  Austin’s camera and the quality of his film was such that all this detail was captured in the 2 ¼ inch square black and white negative.  If I was to match one pixel of the scanned jpeg image to one pixel of my computer screen, I would need a screen 8 feet square to show the whole image.

It makes me think how many more of Austin’s images have such gems hidden in them, if only I was to zoom in enough or print on a poster 8 feet square.