The Art of Google Books
The manuscript digitization process, along with the gestures of the scanning archivist’s hand, and the idiosynchracies of the printed page, can occasionally lead to strange and beautiful new images—”re-photographs” as described by Krissy Wilson, the creator of the blog.
The rephotography I am talking about is what happens when you take a photograph of a photograph — the idea that, were one to take a photo of the Mona Lisa, you would not have a copy of the Mona Lisa, but a photograph, authored by the photographer. I see the images produced by Google Books employees as photographs, in that sense.
The above is a selection of recent discoveries:
1. Marble paper endsheets, from the Bavarian State Library, digitized January 26, 2010.
2. “Poor scanning creates text whirlpool,” from Oxford University, digitized August 2, 2006.
3. Hand Transit, via microecos.
4. Extreme text-stretch, submitted by microscopic.
5. “Who is to blame (for this distortion)?” from the University of California, digitized July 13, 2007.
6. Armand Seguin, Les fleurs du mal, 1892, as found on the digital cover of Dario Gamboni’s Potential images: ambiguity and indeterminacy in modern art, via mythologyofblue.
7. Elaborately designed endpapers digitized in high contrast, from the University of Michigan, digitized May 29, 2007.
8. “Apparently the front and back cover of the book.” from the Bavarian State Library, digitized September 27, 2011.
9. Intermittent autolinking on the title page, from the Bavarian State Library, digitized February 6, 2012.
10. Aurora Borealis plate with neon color distortion, from the New York Public Library, digitized February 2, 2009.