George Eastman House, the University of Rochester, and the Cincinnati Waterfront Project

Sample Digitized Plate

This is a digitized mosaic of plate 4 (of eight) in the Cincinnati Waterfront Panorama Daguerreotype, taken by Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter in 1848. The plate is property of Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and was scanned using visible-light microscopy at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.

Here's a Youtube zoom illustrating the extraordinary level of detail in a daguerreotype:

More Data

The full multi-resolution dataset exceeds our web-server storage capacity, but here are a few samples

Illumination Compensation, Defect and Polishing Detection

The sky in the above digitized mosiac of 768 tiles appears checkered because of systematic error. It is easy to remedy since every tile is affected similarly. Most likely it comes from illumination variation and internal reflections in the system.

Above is the average variation over the images in the sky portion of the digitized image. Being known, it can be removed from each tile.

"Dust" (defects caused by dust) can be detected, and once again removed using standard techniques.

Polishing the plate in the studio leaves faint scratches that can sometimes be identified as idiosyncratic to the studio, thus enabling some determinations of provenance.

Above left is a power spectrum of the left-hand image below. Above right is an automatically-generated radial frequency domain mask that passes only the spatial frequences in the mask's small number of orientations, thus blocking the background and finding parallel marks and features.

Above left is the original image, right the processed one isolating the polish marks.

Restoration of harder detection problems motivates our current research.


If you use this dataset, please cite:

Tang, X., Ardis, P.A., Messing, R., Brown, C.M., Nelson, R.C., Ravines, P. & Wiegandt, R., 2010 "Digital Analysis and Restoration of Daguerreotypes" Proceedings of the SPIE. PDF

For a more extensive tech report, see:

P. A. Ardis, R. Messing, X. Tang, C. M. Brown, R. Nelson, P. Ravines and R. Wiegandt; "Analysis and Restoration of Daguerreotypes Using Cluster Computing" TR954, Computer Science Dept., U. Rochester, Jan. 2010. Download Link

A high-quality popular treatment is in:

The August 2010 Issue of Wired Magazine.


Now Available: C and MPI code to run LoG filters on this dataset

Download Here.

Also Available: Windowed Self-Similarity-Inpainting code:

Download Here.

Contact Ross Messing with any questions, comments, or requests.

If you use this code, please cite the paper.

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