ArtFund Judges Visit Museum

Hertford Museum has been long-listed for a prestigeous ArtFund prize, awarded annually to a museum or gallery for excellence and innovation. This year’s listing is in recognition of the museum’s development project, which was completed last year, following a £1m lottery grant.

Members of the judging panel today visited the museum to see for themselves why it merits inclusion in the list, alongside the British Museum and the V&A.

The judges are shown around the museum by trustee Colin Harris (second left) and curator Helen Giles (far right)

Chairman of the judging panel, Michael Portillo, was joined by Charlotte Higgins,  Chief Arts Writer for The Guardian, and Lars Tharp, ceramics historian and art consultant.

As well as being shown around the museum, the judges were also able to see the museum’s store of items at the nearby Seed Warehouse.

Lars Tharp discusses Spanish ceramics with Michael Portillo

They also saw the work carried out by both paid staff and volunteers, including the restoration and preservation of items in the museum’s collection.

Charlotte Higgins chats to one of the museum’s volunteers in the attic

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Elstree Aerodrome

Earlier in the week I visited Elstree Aerodrome to take some photos for a flying school. It was a beautiful sunny day with plenty of activity on the runway, including helicopters and a turboprop.

Lots of glass in the cockpit of this 2008 Robin DR400
This beautiful Pilatus PC12 is a frequent visitor to Elstree, seen here departing on runway 26
Propeller blades wrapped up warm for the winter, this Yakolev Yak 52 rests on the south side of the runway

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Pseudo-what? I hear you ask. It sounds very complex. And it is. It’s a problem that can afflict black and white prints, especially those produced using inkjet technology. It’s also known as Grey Balance Failure or Colour Balance Failure.

Simply put, it’s the phenomenon whereby a black and white print can appear to have a colour cast in some lights, but not others. Moreover, the colour of the cast can appear to change under varying lighting conditions, most often appearing as either a green, pink or magenta tinge.

Part of the problem is that inket and commercial photographic printers actually print black and white photos using colour inks – cyan, magenta and yellow, along with black (because no amount of mixing coloured inks can produce a genuine black, just dark brown). These printers are typically configured to produce ideal results under what is called D50 lighting, which is a illumination standard that correlates with “horizon light”, with a colour temperature of 5003 Kelvins – roughly daylight. However, as you move away from this standard illumination, into light generated by, say, tungsten or fluourescent sources, the energy levels at different frequencies can change.  Along with that change, the light reflected by the dyes or pigments in the ink can also change, resulting in a slight colour cast. The colour depends on how the inks react to different lighting situations. In some cases it might be pink or magenta, in others it might be varying shades of green. In other lighting situations there may be no colour cast at all. It depends very much on the lighting source and the inks involved.

And it’s not just inkjet prints that suffer from this problem. It’s also been noted in chromogenic colour prints as well (conventional prints that are produced using light sensitive emulsions and developed using chemicals).

Solutions vary. If you’re printing at home with an inkjet printer, consider using only black and grey inks. I’ve also read that matt prints perform better. If you use commercial printers, try shopping around for companies that offer specialist B&W services.

Further reading:
Metamerism – or Things That Go Weird in the Light
How to Successfully Print Black and White Photos on Your Inkjet Printer