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spacer spacer spacer spacer February 27, 2003
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Students bring history to life using digital photography

Few people think twice about their voting privileges, but that was hardly true for previous generations. Recalling the historic struggle over women’s voting rights, students from the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences brought to life a pivotal moment in history. Nine members of the Advanced Digital Photography class re-enacted Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting.

Barbara Blaisdell portrays Susan B. Anthony in a recent project by RIT digital photography students. The image recreates Anthony’s trial for illegal voting in 1873. A full-color version of the photo can be seen on the Web.

Earlier this month, the group set up shop inside the Ontario County Courthouse in Canandaigua—the original site of that 1873 court case—to produce a commemorative photograph.

“Historical accuracy was among our top priorities,” says Douglas Rea, professor of digital photography. “The courtroom still looks remarkably similar to how it appeared all those years ago, and the costumes we used closely resembled the styles of the period.”

Barbara Blaisdell, a guidance counselor at Rush-Henrietta Middle School, played the part of Susan B. Anthony. Blaisdell has participated in educational portrayals of Anthony for the past 12 years. About a dozen other volunteers played supporting roles inside the courtroom.

This moment from the past was captured through the technology of the present. Students used Quick Time Virtual Reality, a high-end digital imaging tool that allowed them to take the photograph in segments—producing a 180-degree panoramic image.

Last year, students from Advanced Digital Photography paid tribute to women in flight with a series of images taken at the National Warplane Museum in Horseheads, N.Y. Those photos are now on permanent display in the Greater Rochester International Airport.

The Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester sponsored this year’s effort. RIT will donate a print of the re-enactment to the Susan B. Anthony House for the organization’s fund-raising efforts.

To see the complete color image, log onto the Web site, www.rit.edu/news/pics/Susan_B.jpg.


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