Author: David Gross

I have an exceptional ability to tell stories in a way that can emotionally connect those who need help with those who can help. I have thirty years experience creating content, medium, and form, through three careers as a photojournalist, software developer, and graphic designer. I specialize in creating cutting-edge multimedia products for common-good advocacy projects. My expertise is in complex and difficult issues that intimately affect ordinary people : war, human rights abuses, disasters, and environmental change.

World Refugee Day

June 20th is World Refugee Day, an effort to raise awareness of the “situation” of refugees* throughout the world. World Refugee Day isn’t well known. In fact, I don’t know anyone outside the community of people who work with refugees who knows about this day. Perhaps that says more about how little governments care about refugees. Most people are…

The Archive

David Gross

The work on the archive of drawings has begun. Years ago, I sat with Lorenzo Virguli and a bottle of red wine, and we came up with the idea of an international archive of children’s drawings of war. The archive would be for the public, for scholars, and for anyone who wanted to better understand war. Despite the passage of time, I have not given up on this idea.

That is why I’m working to establish guidelines for scanning the artwork this project creates that would be useful for such an archive.

Please, if you have ideas or want to contribute, let me know.

I found a very complete document, the US national archives document: Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access:  Creation of Production Master Files – Raster Images. However, I’m not sure ordinary people will scan and document hundreds of scans of children’s artwork to this level of complexity. So, I’m looking to strip it down — to find the minimum necessary to make this work.

Scanning a postcard with the simplest scale and white balance indicator.

Scanning a postcard with the simplest scale and white balance indicator.

I’ve already discovered exactly why a color calibration strip is so important! The Epson scanning software, when set on automatic (as most people will use it), changed the colors of a drawing dramatically (from purple to red). Anyone who wants to see what colors children use in this context — and researchers do! — will need to see the real colors.

We do need to limit the metadata to something realistic. I figure the basics are:

  • unique ID
  • first name of artist
  • age of artist
  • school of artist (if applicable)
  • city/country of artist
  • if drawing in response to another drawing, ID of that drawing
  • medium (gouache, watercolor, pencil, paper, etc.)
  • dimensions (width x height)

If anyone has suggestions, I would like to hear them!

Exhibition in Germany

Four portraits from our project were shown at an exhibition for the Conference on the Syrian Refugee Situation at the German Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The conference took place at the Federal Foreign Office and was attended by representatives of around 40 countries and international organisations. The photos got a great…

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