Lineature was born from the experience of its two founders, both photography lovers with closely related professions. Anne-Laure Coquelin is a graphic designer specialized in digital restoration and reissuing images via new technologies and Aurora Ortega is an art conservator who has worked for many of the world’s renowned cultural organizations including Centre G. Pompidou, Getty Conservation Institute, and Vatican Museums where she acquired substantial experience in the photographic documentation of cultural heritage.
Lineature is a young company whose objective is to produce high quality re-editions of XIX and XX century photographs that honour the historical and artistic integrity of the original works.
The extensive collection, which is available for purchase, has been built through partnerships with esteemed institutions such as the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The website http://www.lineature.com/ features an online gallery of these masterworks organized by themes: Motion, Objects, Sculpture, Architecture, America, Stereoscopy, Panoramic, Science, and Nature.
We discussed with Aurora and Anne-Laure about photography, digital technologies, art, history and accessibility.
How do you think digital technology can enhance the treatment and enjoyment of traditional photography?
Photography is derived from the Greek words photos meaning “light” and graphos meaning “drawing”. The earliest “light drawings” of photography were produced on glass, metal, and eventually paper. Digital technologies have liberated the photographic process from these traditional support materials. At Lineature we are well-versed in the historic techniques and materials of photography which form the body of the collections with which we work, as well as with contemporary photographic and reproduction technologies that enable us to produce faithful re-editions that capture the highest level of detail specific to original techniques.
Digital technologies offer incredible possibilities to people interested in art and culture for creative and reproductive purposes as well as providing hitherto unavailable access to an increasingly diverse array of online collections. New technologies give us the option to study and enjoy photography regardless of our geographical location and enable us to copy or easily order reproductions. In addition, these new technologies have expanded the realm of photography conservation from archival quality recording and documentation to museum quality reproductions. However, technology alone does not insure a quality product – one which protects the original value of the artwork and its copyright. This can only be achieved through close adherence to professional standards and international best practices.
Early photographs are a precious and fragile witness of our history. What is the most exciting and challenging phase of your workflow?
It’s always a pleasure to go to cultural institutions to look for photographic treasures. This process is made even more enjoyable when we are able to work closely with an institution’s conservators and curators. Even after many years of working on the material culture of antiquity or masterworks of fine art, I still thrill to hold an “original” in my hands. Originals offer us the opportunity to learn important details about the photographer through fingerprints, stains, and the materials and technologies used at the time. Originals retain evidence of history as the object travels through many hands and across geographies over time.
When an institution such as the Beyeler Foundation approaches us for a high-fidelity reproduction, we begin with research into the artist and his/her methods and materials. We conduct hundred of tests with many different types of paper, but the real challenge is to transmit the soul and the emotion that emanate from the work of art. New technologies give us the opportunity like never before to share and disseminate art. But apart from its material nature, art evokes emotions and feelings that are both indescribable and unquantifiable and there is the real challenge. How can one transmit the emotion of art through the tools of digital technologies?
What is the true added-value that your service can offer to your customers?
We believe that the specific expertise that our professional team brings to the work provides direct and clear benefits to our customers. These are:
Selection – Lineature works closely with some of the world’s finest institutional and private collections in the world. Our criteria for selection are based on the artistic calibre of the photo, its documentary value, and its singular beauty. Some of the original daguerreotypes have fetched upwards of 500,000 € at auction; a testament to the quality of the photographs with which we work.
Highest standards of reproduction – We use high-quality, museum standard materials and techniques and the Giclée method. This reproduction process produces the most stable and durable product and is therefore also used by the Louvre and British Museums. Currently Giclée art prints constitute a recognized category of museum quality digital photography.
Restoration prior to re-production – At Lineature we do no merely reproduce images but begin each project with research followed by careful restoration of the original as required. All of our restoration interventions are according to international principles and codes of ethics for the conservation and care of cultural heritage. Each piece is treated as a unique object with its own life and histories, the particularities of which must be protected. All of our restoration work is aimed at preserving the unique details of each work of art.
Service and communal responsibility – Lineature is committed to making the world’s important historic photographic collections accessible to a wider audience. We achieve this through collaborations with institutional and private partners to provide re-editions of rare photographs. For the reproduction of photos housed in institutional collections, we donate a percentage of the sale back to the institution in support of research and long-term care.
Official website: www.lineature.com