PHILOSOPHICAL STATEMENT

revised 2007

Since I first began putting my images on the web in the summer of 1997, I have received a number of e-mails from persons asking me why I am doing this. It’s true: it’s very time-consuming and expensive. I do all the work at my own expense. I own personally a top-of-the-line computer and monitor, my own Nikon scanner, and several cameras and lenses. Since I retired from university teaching in May 2006, I have had more time to travel, take photographs, and devote to this web site.

I taught for 32 years at Bluffton University, a Mennonite liberal arts college which stresses the ideals of social justice, service, and pacifism. Although I am not a Mennonite, I share these values. This web site is in part a recognition of the importance of these ideals. While I have never done voluntary service in third world countries or worked in obvious ways to further these goals, I am gratified that I get so many e-mails from those in countries where expensive art books are unavailable, where libraries are limited, and where budgets are so meager that travel around the world is impossible. In my small way I hope to make some educational resources available to those in these conditions. I believe that those of us in wealthy countries with personal means have an obligation to share resources. For me, the great advantage of the web is that it helps to eliminate some of these inequities.

I am now sixty six. I have been very fortunate in my life in getting to travel around the world. (Unfortunately, my camera broke the first day I was in the People’s Republic of China so unless I decide to violate copyright by publishing on the web some of the images I purchased there, that trip will go unrecorded.) Because I taught art history, I took slides at my own expense for use in these courses over the past 32 years. This web site is the culmination of those years of travel, always with a focus on art history. At the time I never imagined that I could make these resources available to a wider audience. I am happy that I can.

 

WHAT’S TO COME

I still have several thousand photographs to include on this site. I continue to travel and take pictures. Currently I still have many images from these places to include: Mexico (primarily archaeological sites), VietNam and Cambodia, Italian art cities, French churches, chateaux and contemporary architecture, architecture in the Netherlands and Belgium, houses in historic Savannah, just to mention some of the backlog. A number of people have sent me images to include on this site which I will do as time warrants. I am willing to put good images of art historical interest on this site taken by anyone who would like to contribute images. These people are always fully credited with their e-mails included as part of the credit line so that they can be contacted directly.

 

TECHNICAL ISSUES

Until about 2004, all images were taken with a 35 mm Minolta camera. All the exterior shots (and some interiors) were taken with Kodachrome 64--a high resolution slide film. Interiors, when available on my site, were usually taken with Ectachrome 500, often forced to 1000. I have not normally recorded the date of the photograph unless I am aware that changes have occurred at the site since I took the photograph. Details were often taken as details with a zoom lens, although I have sometimes cannibalized a larger image for important details.

After 2004 images were photographed with a Minolta DImage digital camera--a great convenience since these files were already digital and I no longer had to scan slides. (I still have a couple of thousand slides not yet scanned, however. On my to do list!)

The original images have been manipulated with Photoshop. Manipulation may include only removing dust and lint from the scan and cropping, but sometimes it is more extensive: rotating the image (since I can't seem to hold a camera level), heightening the contrast or color, and sometimes correction of parallax, a significant problem when using a wide-angle lens, as I often do. If I can do so without affecting the main image, I sometimes have eliminated distractions—electrical wires, trash, even people. I have not done "professional" artsy manipulation like adding blue skies or combining images.

 

USE OF IMAGES

Anyone may link to these pages. Anyone may download these images for personal or educational use. If possible, I would like a credit line in these instances. If images are downloaded, they should be kept at the size I have made them for best viewing. The last step in my process is to "sharpen" images; this lines up the pixels in such a way that if the size is changed, the image is distorted. These images should not be "borrowed" for commercial use. Although these are high resolution images for web viewing, they are totally inadequate for print media.

Although I am not a slide vendor, I have on occasion negotiated commercial use of these images (or duplicate slides of them or tif files). Please contact me at the e-mail address below if you wish to use an image commercially. In most instances, I will not provide images free for non-commercial use since it is an inconvenience for me to mail tif files or to get duplicate slides made.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Last but not least, I have thanks to offer. Bluffton University has always been very supportive of this project, offering me server space initially when it was very expensive and my site larger than its own. In recent years I received two Study Center grants from my university to travel, take photographs, and compile pages--one to study Julia Morgan's architecture and another to study and photograph architecture in the southern United States. In addition, I was one of the faculty members leading student tours to Spain, Italy (twice), and VietNam so my travel expenses were generally provided on these student study tours. Bluffton University granted me three sabbaticals during my tenure there and always supported my art historical proposals, even though the college had initially hired me solely to teach English courses. (My doctorate is in English literature.) These sabbaticals allowed me to study art history, to live in Florence once for a semester, and to do extensive travel.

My greatest thanks and appreciation, however, go to my husband of 40 years--William J. Sullivan. He has often accompanied me on these travels, many times as chauffeur in hectic traffic; he has gone willingly to destinations I craved to see and photograph (not in general relaxing "vacation" places); he has understood my need to commit economic resources to my travels (while house improvements have gone unmet); and always he has understood and supported my obsession with this project. I simply could not have done this project without him.


Mary Ann Sullivan
Professor Emerita of English and Art History
Bluffton University
Bluffton, OH 45817

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Copyright © 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.