In order for carvers Gwaai and Jaalen Edenshaw to create a replica of this fantastic Haida box (PRM 1884.57.25), the Museum needs to provide an exact 1:1 photograph of each side so they can create stencils and prepare for carving.
Sounds simple, right?
Apparently this is a highly technical and difficult task, normally undertaken by the likes of forensic crime scene photographers who might have to match, say, a boot print to a boot. Fortunately PRM photographer Malcolm Osman, PhotoShop Wizard Extraordinaire, has sorted out complex equations, corrected for the angle of the original photograph he took (note to self: photograph it straight on next time…), and done an extra spell to address the curvature of the camera lens he took the photo with.
Heather Richardson, Head of Conservation at PRM, is shown here helping me measure the box. Measurements were translated into technical diagrams by Collections diva Madeline Ding, scanned and sent to Gwaai and Jaalen—who can now get on with milling the very large plank that will be used to make the new box.
Meanwhile we will wait and see whether our Test Photographic Print number 2 is exactly the number of millimetres high and wide that it needs to be…