Friday, February 06, 2015

The Archivist's favorite image type

Today I want to introduce our readers to my favorite type of image: the aerial.  Since my first days processing archival collections, I have had a special place in my heart for aerial photography.  I love the details that can be seen from the air, the way context seems to shift and how distances contract and expand based on the elevation of the aerial shot.  In my experience full sets of aerials include a shot map, or overhead layout of the terrain with markers for each shot.  The map typically includes the same types of image data as the shots themselves, but can provide a glimpse into the flight path used in taking the images.  The images produced from these flights come in 2 varieties, the aerial survey and the oblique.  The aerial survey is usually taken with a camera mounted on the bottom of the craft facing directly down, they can be set to automatically take images at certain intervals or manually through a button in the cockpit.  Aerial surveys are traditionally used in large scale planning, urban renewal and transportation.  The second type, the oblique, is informative, however they feel somewhat more visually "artistic" or at least appealing.  Obliques are taken at angle to the target and can offer some dynamic views of the terrain.

The image I found recently in the archives which I am sharing today is an oblique.  The circa date is listed as 1958, which is pretty specific, so it most likely was taken that year or within one or two years.

I haven't seen many images in the archives from this angle.  In the picture we are facing northwest with the Council Crest radio and water towers visible on the hill directly behind the University.  In the foreground one can see the new (at the time) School of Dentistry, which was just constructed in 1956.  The Medical School Hospital (OHSU Hospital) stands directly behind that having been constructed in 1956 as well.  On the right, one can see the Multnomah County Hospital, Mackenzie Hall and the Library / Auditorium in the back.  One can also see SW Gibbs Street heading northwest from campus before it turns into SW Marquam Hill Rd.

Perhaps one of our readers can confirm this for me, but on the lower right-hand side, is that the old Residence Dormitory?  It's in the same location as where Shriner's stands today.  If you have any additional information, context or a cool story surrounding the this time period, feel free to email the University Archivist, Max Johnson, at:

Until next time,

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