Saturday, 23 February 2013

The first photomosaic for architectural purposes?

In these days I am teaching various techniques to document in 2D cultural heritage with FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) at the UNESCO master Open Techne. In particular I speak about photomapping and 2D photogrammetry technologies (to record horizontal and vertical surfaces).
Teaching students is always an interesting and instructive experience and , in most cases, it is often a mutual exchange of information, so it is more similar to a dialogue than to a monologue. I often learned a lot during these occasions and sometimes I have the opportunity to further investigate particular topics or to change my point of view on them, thanks to the discussion with other people.
Today it happened something like this: we were investigating the right way to correctly take pictures in order to use them for am architectural photomosaic (fortunately among the students there are not only archaeologists, but also architects, engineers, computer technicians, etc...), so I thought that a good example was the "photographic paint" maid in 1873 by Giacomo Rossetti, that I happened to see some years ago visiting the Musei Civici di Arte e Storia di Brescia (IT). You can see this "masterpiece" in the image below:

Photographic paint of S. Maria dei Miracoli in Brescia (G. Rossetti)

If I remember well what I read about this photographic paint, G. Rossetti built a wooden stage in order to collect the different photos that compose the photomosaic without excessive distortion. Of course now there are simpler ways to take good pictures (just read the last post Alessandro wrote about the UAV dornes we built), but the question of the students was: 

is this the first example of photomosaic for architecturale purposes?

To be honest, I was not able to answer the question. I just know that G. Rossetti presented its work during the exposition in Vienna in 1873 (where he won the medal of merit), but he started similar project earlier (around 1862). It seems that Rossetti's experiments were most appreciated abroad that at home (there is not even an Italian page in Wikipedia), so I think that better informations can be found in foreign countries.

 If some of the readers knows similar work of other photograpgers/artist (or of G. Rossetti), please report them on this blog, so next time maybe I will be able to better answer to student's question about this topic :).
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