R - AP
Photographs April 2, 1941
MEMORANDUM FOR THE STAFF:
The Station's photograph collection will shortly be distributed to individual project files, leaving only a general interest collection in the library, made up chiefly of duplicates of selected project pictures. From now on the following procedure relative to photographic development, printing, and records will be observed.
No picture may go into any file (project or general interest) unless it has an official Forest Service number. This, also, agrees with the photograph committee's recommendations. It means that we will use the Washington office photo laboratory as repository for all negatives that are good enough for our collections. Only one divergence from the photograph committee's suggestions: Leica films will not be sent to Washington unless there is an outstanding reason.
All local photographic work will require purchase orders and will be cleared through Mills who will send copies of orders to Frothingham. Use of Form 166 will be as described on the reverse of that form except that in sending developed films to Washington five copies of Form 166 (instead of the four designated in the instructions) will be made, one to be routed to Frothingham, who will thus have record of the shipment and who will review the prints, when received, for possible inclusion in the general interest collection.
Please read in particular the paragraph under "Description" on the reverse of Form 166. Keep in mind the question "why was this picture taken?" and answer it. Our picture collections would be greatly improved if this were done. Many of our pictures, of course, are obviously routine, but no one knows when a photograph will be exactly the one needed for a specific illustration perhaps not at all associated with the original routine purpose of the picture. "South corner of Plot 22, looking sidewise" tells nothing to anyone who doesn't know all about Plot 22. It is easy to write in the species, ages, size, density, or other particulars-particularly what is being or about to be done on the area that will make the picture really intelligible to the uninitiated.
And one more thought. "Human interest" in a picture often adds greatly to its value for purposes of illustration. But a lot of our pictures, otherwise fine, are ruined by some apparently idle and unoccupied human draping himself somewhere in the foreground. Even in photos designed only for the project files a graduated pole or other not too conspicuous device may show scale just as well as, if not better than, a man. We are of course shy of good pictures showing foresters or woods workers in action, just as we lack good pictures of individual species, forest types, silvicultural measures (including follow-ups), woods operations, etc. With this in mind I hope that every member of the staff will look over the display photo collection as soon as it is in initial shape and make note of the weak points.
By : R. E. McARDLE, Director
cc: Frothingham files By Acting