Blackwood’s 1872


cc licensed ( ) flickr photo shared by National Library of Ireland…

I saw this photo on the National Library of Ireland’s Commons stream. I loved it for a variety of reasons and eventually decided I’d like to have a real copy for my office. Unfortunately, the largest version on Flickr was 1768 x 1937.

I wrote in the Flickr comments asking about a larger version but there was no response after a few days so I followed up with the contact information from their website. That led to some correspondence and I took a gamble buying a digital copy for 7 Euros (about $10). Pixel dimensions were unknown but it was TIFF and 600dpi. At worst, I made a donation to the National Library of Ireland.

I’ve been playing around with that TIFF file and seeing what I could do with Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator. It’s pretty impressive what it can do. I’ve jacked up the size considerably and will be curious to see what it looks like printed in large format.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

You can see some of the difference that comes from upping the number of angles in the trace below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 3.19.03 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 3.19.47 PM

All things considered the whole scenario is amazing. I can randomly come across photographs from the 1870s . . . from Ireland . . . get in touch with a library across the ocean . . . get a digital copy in less than a week . . . and then be able to create a fully scalable version using software available to regular humans.

Comments on this post

  1. Jim Groom said on January 21, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I have to say I have been in a similar frame of mind these days. Teaching this new class called the Internet I am struck by just how much this conceptual and technical infrastructure has collapsed time, space,and possibility.

    • Tom Woodward said on January 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      It may be I’m over celebrating what is commonplace but it does seem like we take this sort of thing for granted or, perhaps worse, it passes unnoticed.

      • g2-a3ce4e45c979a8523a2098808847fcc5 said on January 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        I don;t think your wrong, it should be celebrated. iw as talking last week about the fact that in 1994 one of the things that truly blew my mind about the internet was that I could download tax forms right at my work desk. I was blown away! I didn’t have to pick them up at the post office. Quotidian and mind boggling all at once if you lived long enough to realize how that might change things on a scale we are seeing now. But the future always seems incremental, even if its not. It’s kinda bizarre in a weird way, it’s here but we are to immersed in it to stop and celebrate it, or worse we try and suggest it will ruin us irreovably. I think that is my biggest fear, we turn one of the most insane inventions of time, and the apotheosis of communications of into a threat. I’m not saying it can’t be, but it’s for us to say. We have agency.

      • g2-a3ce4e45c979a8523a2098808847fcc5 said on January 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        I think your blog lost a comment on me. Sad panda 🙁

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