Beneath the Red Sea: A Photographic Archive.
Beneath the Red Sea: A Photographic Archive.
Converting a 2000+ image film library into an online archive of underwater images from the Red Sea making them available to the world.
Converting a 2000+ image film library into an online archive of underwater images from the Red Sea making them available to the world. Read more
About this project
The purpose of this project is to scan and digitize a film library of over 2,000 original 35mm images photographed underwater in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba between 1990 and 2003.
Our objective is to create a website to permanently house an online archive of these images. The images will then be used for educational, research and artistic purposes. It will also provide enjoyment and opportunity for the general public to see and to learn about the beauty and fragility of the coral reefs and ecosystem of the Red Sea. This archive will not only preserve these images in perpetuity, but will also make them available to anyone, anywhere in the world, with access to the internet.
These images span thirteen years of underwater photography. They represent a large library of images from the Red Sea during the decade of the 1990s. This archive contains the fruit of over 2,500 dives. It presents a view of the Red Sea coral reef ecosystem as it was more than 20 years ago. These photos constitute a historical record that we believe should be preserved in digital format before they deteriorate and are lost forever.
Why the Red
The Red Sea is one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems. It is a never ending wonderland of corals, reef fish, marine mammals and other sea creatures. From the tiny ghost pipefish floating above the corals to the whale sharks that visit seasonally the Red Sea is home to a vast variety of sea life in a biosphere unique in its diversity. Unfortunately, like many other regions of the world’s oceans, the Red Sea is suffering the degradation of the marine environment, mainly from human causes. Acidification of the water, destructive fishing techniques, careless divers & snorkelers, boats, chemical runoff, corals choking from soil erosion caused by construction along the shore are, among other things, contributing to the destruction of this unique ecosphere.
This project seeks to preserve, as a permanent stable digital archive, thousands of images for the historical record. Making it possible for the world’s peoples, their children and their children’s children to see how this unique ecosystem once thrived and can do so again merely by adopting the conservation techniques and practices that already exist.
For 13 years (1990 to 2003) Beula and I had the good fortune to live and work in Eilat, Israel. We owned and operated a full service photo shop specializing in all aspects of underwater photography. During this time I was able to photograph the beautiful coral reefs that stretch along the coast of the Sinai Peninsula from Eilat, Israel and Aqaba, Jordan in the north to Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt on the south end of the Sinai Peninsula and in the Red Sea as far south as Eritrea. I was able to take more than 200 hours of underwater video and more than 5,000 still photographs during my almost daily photo dives in Eilat and my many trips down the gulf by both land and sea. All of the images were photographed on film. There are about 2,500 high quality slides and negatives that need to be scanned if they are to survive indefinitely. These photos provide a huge repository of knowledge about the fish, corals and other sea life of the Red Sea.
Our film archive of over 2,000, 35mm slides and negatives – some of which have been stored undisturbed for more than 20 years – will be cleaned and sorted into groups. Then they will be individually scanned at very high definition and saved in an uncompressed format, a format that preserves the maximum amount of detail from the original image. The size of each image will be approximately 50 MB. The scans will be stored on DVDs for backup purposes. Duplicate safety copies will be made and stored permanently. The scans will then be transferred to a 1.5 terabyte hard drive and individually reviewed, color corrected and cropped as needed. Copies of each image in 5 different resolutions will then be saved into the digital archive.
The images will then be up-loaded to the project website, indexed and organized into a database that will allow them to be retrieved and displayed by number, name, subject, date and location. The website will be freely available to anyone interested in the archive. Copies of any images will be made available without charge to non-profit educational institutions and to the general public at reasonable cost through an online storefront attached to the website.
Future Potential of the Project:
Once the project is completed, we plan to produce a series of power point slide shows for use in schools and by various non-profits. These presentations will be specific to certain aspects of the Red Sea ecosystem and generally applicable to all the tropical reef ecosystems of the world's oceans. These power point presentations will be made available to schools and non-profits free of charge. We feel that this will make an elementary knowledge of the world under the sea available to everyone and stimulate the interests and imaginations of people who otherwise would never see or appreciate the beauty or understand the importance of the reef ecology to their very existence
It is our hope that this project will be the cornerstone for a worldwide effort to educate the general population about importance of the marine ecosystems to the health and viability of the planet. It is our goal to help stimulate interest in the preservation of the coral reefs of the world’s tropical and subtropical oceans.
If you are a scuba diver, snorkeler, fisherman, sailor, boater, surfer, or a person who loves the sea and believes in spreading the word about what lives underneath their waters, if you believe in educating people about the coral reefs, and if you believe that we should preserve them for the future good of mankind, please consider backing this project. With your participation we can start to build an organization that will outlive us and help change the future.
(Photographs and video © 1990-2003 by Sidney M. Lewis.)
(Original Music by Talyn Detmers)
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge that faces us is completing the project by our self imposed deadline of June 30, 2013. The huge number of transparencies and negative presents a daunting task. After the originals are scanned each image must be reviewed to be sure that the colors are true to the original colors. Although, after thirteen years in the photo business, we are highly experienced in this process the time needed for the handling of each image adds up to hundreds of hours. Once the images are ready and cataloged they will need to be uploaded to the website, this too represents yet more countless hours work.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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