So before the new student center at Mizzou came into being this academic year, I was charged with photographing the old boards rescued from the original “Shack” so that they could be reproduced for the new one. These things were nasty. They had mold and dust from being in storage with intelligible carvings on one side and 25 year old gum on the other side. Just moving these things made me glad I had all my shots and I was very careful not to touch my face after handling the wood.
They say they want people to carve up the place and make it look like it used to, so here's my question- how come they're not encouraging sticking gum under the tables for authenticity!?!
Having studied what “kitsch” means in the Art world sense, I was really skeptical of how the reproductions would turn out and how they’d be presented. I also quickly found that getting a high enough resolution file to print a 6 foot long board at photo quality makes for a gigantic (I’m talkin 1.2 gig) image file. This was one of the first times that megapixels actually mattered and all I had was a Canon Rebel XTi (11 mpxls), so I had to use Photomerge in Photoshop to make the huge files to convince detail-oriented diners. Some of the photos came out green, but it was because of the mold, not my white-balancing. Anyway, it was a long, tedious procedure with most of the time spent looking at a small bar moving millimeters at a time across the screen.
Now that I’ve eaten in the Shack quite a few times, I’m actually very happy with how they turned out. The tabletops are smooth and the printing company did an exquisite job with them. It’s great to be wrong about some things.
I experienced first hand the difference between the digital world and the physical one. There was a swastika carved into one of the boards, and I was asked to remove it from the digital image. With the patch tool, It took two seconds. Later, I saw a Mizzou handyman painstakingly heating a screwdriver with a torch to remove the physical symbol from the original board that had been varnished and installed in the corner of The Shack. He said he’d been at it for hours and had barely made any progress.