John Rylands Library in Manchester is not your everyday library. For one thing, it’s old. Opened to the public on January 1, 1900, the library celebrated it hundredth birthday more than fourteen years ago. But when it comes to age, the building can hardly compete with the stuff that’s in it.
Housing a priceless 52 kilo koran, ancient Egyptian papyrus fragments and 3000 year old Sumarian clay tablets to name just a few examples, John Rylands is not so much a library as a giant treasure chest of historic documents and artifacts.
Moving into the 21st century, the library has undergone the ambitious task of digitizing all these priceless objects. Photographing objects such as these obviously requires the highest possible resolution and the most consistent color temperature available. To achieve this, the photographers at John Rylands rely on the Phase One 645 DF body, the Phase One iXR body, the IQ180 digital back and the Profoto D1 monolight. The flashes are synced with an Air Sync unit.
The video was shot by our good friends at Phase One, so there is obviously a lot camera tech in it. But keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll get a few pointers on the lighting as well.