Historic American Building Survey + Historic American Engineering Record Documentation


Periscope Building | Mare Island

The Library of Congress has strict guidelines for photographic documentation and submission into to the Historic American Building Survey and Historic American Engineering Record archives. This level of documentation requires a historical understanding of buildings, the use of large format black and white film, and specialized large format camera equipment allowing for proper perspective correction inside the camera before the image ever hits the negative.


Carrizo Gorge, Goat Canyon Trestle | California

Why film?
The library of congress still requires the use of large format negatives for 2 reasons : longevity of the film and clarity of the image. The material stability of cut sheet film satisfies the archival requirements for longevity (500 years), while the clarity of the resulting image comes from a high level of resolution not possible in smaller film formats. Film can always be digitized but exclusively digital information may not always be recoverable due to the vulnerabilities of digital data including media degradation, hardware and software obsolescence, file format migration, proprietary formats, etc. In addition, maintenance of digital archives is much more expensive than maintenance of film archives.

Should you require a HABS/HAER/HALS/CEQA documentation of significant architecture, infrastructure, machinery or landscape please contact my studio.



Union Iron Works Machine/Boiler Shop :: Circa 1880 | San Francisco