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My favorites from the Crow Collection

So... I just uploaded my favorite Objects from the Crow Collection - because THIS particular project is my personal, professional, best of show. I had the incredible opportunity to rebuild their Collection archive in the Spring of 2014. I admit - it was a HUGE challenge for a photo-professional who had zero Museum experience. Sure - I can Photoshop anything - shoot ANYTHING - but the process of rebuilding this amazing Collection of Objects...well - I was not really prepared. The Art. The Science. The workflow...I will tell you - it doesn't matter how 'good' you think your skills are, when they hand you a key to a multi- billion dollar warehouse of Antiquities, yeah. That is where I set up the scanner and got to work. I started in the files - the beginning. 1960_1. I was not ever given the opportunity to actually 'handle' the Objects. Some were on display in the Museum. Most were in the warehouse - I could 'see' some of them occasionally when the doors were opened due to collection management, albeit, under the minimal light of a warehouse setting. I was told on more than one occasion - 'you should not be back here'. There was only one Object that was ever placed in a 'daylight lighting situation' by the Collection Manager for me to view, for color correction. Every other Object - I winged it. I ran white and black balances in Photoshop, building a set of algorithyms to work from. For the Objects on display in the Museum itself - I spent hours looking, staring at them - considering the lighting - making notes, so I could color correct the photography 'on file'.

That photography was AMAZING. Our grand friend - may he rest in peace - Tom Jenkins, did a majority of the 4x5 transparency captures on Fuji film. I remember we ran some of those at Total Color. I never paid attention back then. I TRULY wish I had. I felt his spirit behind me so many days during those 20 weeks at the warehouse. Granted, it might very well have been the Objects. The Spirits that encompass and surround and protect all of those beautiful pieces of craftsmanship and artistry. So much talent. So much reverence. So much history. I am still overwhelmed by all of the knowledge I have in my brain from those precious weeks. Those 20 weeks. I wanted them to continue. So I could learn more, do more. To understand. I am still so incredibly overwhemed by the POWER of this Collection. I return frequently to my largest and most favorite Object - the one I call the 'Captain's Bell'. Talk about a story. Not a fable - a REAL story. Of courage. And reverence. A simple, desperate prayer - answered. "By the new God of Love". I asked the Bell to help me then, and I still do. It answers me, really anyone, when a prayer of completion of a task is presented. It is literally inscribed on the surface of the Bell. Along with its story, its history, its gentle Prayer...for all of us. I love that Bell. And this Collection. Miss Margaret passed away while I was working there. I so wish I could have met her. I feel she was there with me, helping me finish...I was out of time and had to finish.

I know I'm still not done. There is so much for me to still do. In my life. With this Collection. I hope my favorite Object - my Captain's Bell - will answer my prayers. My tasks are still not complete. I really want to complete my tasks. All of them. Including all of the images that I didn't have time to archive. The trips. The events. The scrapbooks. All of it. Maybe one of these days, there will be a request...that I will whole-heartedly say YES to, without reservation. God Bless The Crow. And all of us. -Mel

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