Environmental Professionals Radio (EPR)

Photography, HABS/HAER Reports, and Working in Remote Places with Bruce Harvey

October 01, 2021 Bruce Harvey
Environmental Professionals Radio (EPR)
Photography, HABS/HAER Reports, and Working in Remote Places with Bruce Harvey
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome back to Environmental Professionals Radio, Connecting the Environmental Professionals Community Through Conversation, with your hosts Laura Thorne and Nic Frederick! 

On today’s episode, we talk with Bruce Harvey, architectural historian and documentation photographer about Photography, HABS/HAER Reports and Working in Remote Places.   Read his full bio below.

Help us continue to create great content! If you’d like to sponsor a future episode hit the support podcast button or visit www.environmentalprofessionalsradio.com/sponsor-form 

Showtimes: 

2:35  Nic and Laura discuss Pitch your Pivot

10:00 Interview with Bruce Harvey starts

14:50  Bruce talks about photography

17:09  Bruce discusses taking photos for HABS/HAER reports 

27:15  Bruce talks about working in remote places

28:17  Bruce describes his favorite photos 

38:09  Bruce discusses volunteer photography

Please be sure to ✔️subscribe, ⭐rate and ✍review. 

This podcast is produced by the National Association of Environmental Professions (NAEP). Check out all the NAEP has to offer at NAEP.org.

Connect with Bruce Harvey at http://bgharvey.com/

Guest Bio:

Bruce G. Harvey is a historian, architectural historian, and documentation photographer, located in Syracuse, NY. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN (1998), an M.A. in Applied History from the University of South Carolina, Columbia (1988), and a B.A. in History from Allegheny College, Meadville, PA (1985). He has over thirty years of experience as a public historian, and as a specialist in cultural resource management for twenty-five years. He has participated in and directed hundreds of cultural resources and historic preservation projects since 1995, including historic architectural surveys throughout the east coast and the Midwest, successful NRHP nominations in multiple northeastern and Middle Atlantic states, and historical, architectural, and engineering evaluations of hydroelectric plants and historic canals throughout the nation. As a photographer, using both large-format black and white film and digital platforms, he has documented dozens of historic buildings and structures throughout the east coast for HABS/HAER and other documentation purposes, and has exhibited his photographs in multiple venues in New York State. From 1995 to 2003 he served as the Senior Historian and Architectural Historian with Brockington and Associates in Mount Pleasant, SC, and from 2003 to 2009 as the Senior Cultural Resources Specialist with Kleinschmidt Associates in Syracuse, NY. He began working as an independent cultural resources consultant in 2009 under the business name of Harvey Research and Consulting, specializing in HABS/HAER documentation, Section 106 consultation, and National Register of Historic Places nominations. Since 2014 he has also served as the Senior Historian with Outside the Box LLC, where his work has included the completion of four book-length administrative histories of National Park Service units.

Music Credits

Intro: Givin Me Eyes by Grace Mesa

Outro: Never Ending Soul Groove by Mattijs Muller

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Transcript is auto-transcribed

[Intro]

Nic 
Hello and Welcome to EPR with your favorite environmental enthusiasts Nick and Laura. On today's episode, Laura and I discuss the Pitch your Pivot competition she helped judge, we sit down with Bruce Harvey to talk about photography HABS/HAER  reports and working in remote places. And finally, you're gonna take a guess at how many tennis balls they go through for Wimbledon Wimbledon, as it spelled for one term. It's not like

Laura
 
5000.

Nic 
So if you multiply that by 10 You're correct.

Laura
Wow, really.

Nic
Yeah, just for that tournament. 50,000 tennis balls.

Laura 

And by going through them, you mean like they squash them until they're just like they're, or they use them once and they're done.

Nic 
So, basically the temperature of tennis balls affects the way they bounce so they have to keep them at a specific temperature and once they get too warm, they're unusable so they don't use them anymore, they get, I don't know what the hell they do with them afterwards.

Laura 
I was going to say, do they donate them to people with back pain.

Nic 
They should. No they donate them to like the the rollers, you know like you put the old tennis balls at the bottom of the roller so you can slide it along.

Laura
Why don't they donate them to nursing homes.

Nic
Yes that's the word I couldn't think of jeez. Yeah, so, yeah.

Laura 
I have Wimbledon tennis balls on my walker.

Nic  
There you go, yeah, that's,

Laura 
they don't do that, I think they should Wimbledon Walker series.

Nic 
Yeah right. The Wimbledon Walker. That's funny. I like that, the Wimbledon Walker,

Laura  
You can use that in one of your shows if you'd like to.

Nic 

 Oh dear, yeah thank you. What every comic loves to hear hey you can take that joke I just gave. Okay. All right, thank you.

Laura
You're welcome

Nic  
Please be sure to subscribe, rate and review. Hit that music.

[Shout outs]

Laura  
Alright, following up from last week we mentioned that there is a job board that you can post jobs but we didn't mention that you can also upload your resume if you are looking for jobs so check that out on the website at NAEP-jobs.careerwebsite.com. Also Nick and I love doing this show and if you love it too, we would like you to help us keep doing it. So we need your help. If you can help out with sponsorship that would be great, head on over to www.environmentalprofessionalsradio.com and check out the sponsor forum for more details. Now let's get to our segment.

Nic
Cool.

[Nic and Laura's segment]

Nic 
So Laura, I was rummaging through LinkedIn the other day and I saw you were participating something called like the pitch your pivot. Pitch Competition, is that right. What is that.

Laura 
Yeah, super awesome, amazing program for women entrepreneurs here in the central valley actually it's central New York and Cleveland, I think,

Nic 
What? Why Cleveland,

Laura 
Because it was sponsored by a Key Bank and I think that's where the headquarters are but they have branches here and friend of mine here Tamika Otis, she's part of a company called JumpStart and started working with Key Bank on a, I think it's a four year program, to put together these pitch competitions for women entrepreneurs. So they train them, so women can apply and then the ones that are accepted, you know, make it to the final round, they get trained and how to do a pitch, how to talk about their business, and so they get a pretty quick and intensive training for that and then they have the actual competition so I was honored to be asked to be a judge for this. The one they did in Syracuse, which was the final one, so after the four years they've done them in Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Cleveland.

Nic 
So funny. Yeah,

Laura 
if I'm getting that right but I think so. Anyway it was completely amazing. The women who made it to the final round. This year, were all just awesome. It's really hard to choose, I think there were five or I think five judges total. So essentially, they had an hour and a half event. In the first part of it there. So, the women did their pitches and then we judges went into a breakout room and zoom and did or you know pulled our numbers together and discussed who we thought, met the criteria best that they had and, and then they while we were deliberating they had three I think young entrepreneurs who've been working with Hasan Stephens, with the Good Life Foundation here in Syracuse who helps at risk youth through hip hop and technology, and all these other really cool programs. So they had, so I kind of didn't get to see that until the recording, but that was really awesome too. And I don't know I just, I love doing that kind of thing, and it's just really cool too. So the winner got $10,000

Nic
Dang.

Laura
Yeah, her name is Jasmine Coan and she's a DJ. And so the whole thing, this competition specifically was about your pivot during COVID So,

Nic 
interesting.

Laura 
Okay, sorry if the judging was, what was your business before COVID And what's your pivot, what is your business after COVID Yeah, and hers was a real pivot like she was doing parties and events, and then, you know, what happens to parties and events go away. Instead of just collecting unemployment and waiting for things to come back, she started this whole youth program, teaching people how to DJ and she has a booth actually in Destiny mall here, but a location. Oh wow, so I can go to the mall and take DJ lessons like super, super cool. Yeah so it's called On the One it's really awesome. She also played the fair was just here, and she was a big part of the first annual DJ festival was an all day thing at the fair one day which is really awesome too.

Nic 
That's really cool. So it's, I mean like when you started talking about it I'm like is this shark tank is that what's happening here.

Laura
A little bit.

Nic
Yeah, that's that's pretty cool. So, how many entrants Did you judge.

Laura 
There were five when they got to us, so I don't know, I don't remember how many people submitted but a different group of people vetted, the people who made it to the final round and then we just judged the actual pitches,

Nic 
and it was like one of those things were like really obvious like hey this is the person who should win or they're really good debate about about who.

Laura  
Yeah, we did go with how our numbers shook out, but there was some discussion and that was close. you know, there was, they're all still like doing amazing things in the community here in Syracuse, one is a female barbecue chef. So, then she's like teaching young kids how to grill and be a grill master so like that's real masters thing, you know, it's kind of thing that you don't pay much attention to you and then you listen to their pitches and you're like man that's really cool. One woman is operating a 24 hour daycare, which is so so needed here in this community and especially like during COVID Yeah. Another one is, while the other one was actually one of our webinar, speakers on Urban Tea. yeah so Leticia was on a webinar, the last leadership webinar. Yeah, so, you know she's talking about environmental justice and she has a background, she's environmental engineering, environmental engineer but she's an engineer during the day. And then in the evening or on her spare time, she has this program called woke Wednesdays where she's trying to promote black entrepreneurship and just how to succeed, I don't know, she's just doing like an empowerment program right right here and so she was, she was looking for funding to expand her program, the last one. And last but not least, was Caeresa Richardson, and she has a shop downtown in Syracuse called Ecodessa, and it's all sustainable fashion, really awesome.

Nic 
Oh cool.

Laura 
Yeah, and it's she's super fashionable she's also one of the counselors at the Wise Women's Business Center here. So, it hurt, I mean, in my heart I'm like, Oh, she needs to win but you know, all I wanted them all to win. I love the DJ as much as I love sustainable company so that's all great but they all won something so it was like $10,000 to the first place winner $5000 A second place, $2500, whatever the last place got $1000. So they all won once they made it to that round.

Nic 
So that's really cool. That's awesome, that's a really, how did you get involved in stuff like that like if I want to, like I want to be involved in stuff like that.

Laura 
It's really just all of the background that I have with business consulting, and then I've been doing a lot of work here with the community, I make it a point and purpose to be involved in the Black and Brown spaces, and try to do things, not only with the wise Women's Business Center but with like the Creators Lounge and with the other different types of businesses and people who are doing stuff here so just being engaged in the community in a robust kind of way. So it's just like getting a job it's about who knows, you know, it's a little bit my background experience but a lot of it is just Tamika invited me because I spoke at a Fearless Queen's event, a few years ago when she was there and she's like, I want to work with you couldn't tell you what I said at that event, but whatever it was spoke to her.

Nic 
I mean Fearless Queens What a name that's a great name. I love it.

Laura  
it. Oh, shout out to Tommy Billingsley she's another woman here who was doing a lot to just help black businesses and young entrepreneurs and women in entrepreneurship to just empower them to get beyond pedaling and really having an actual established business and so Tommy, so she had this Fearless Queens event that she put on for a couple of years and then this year she changed it there was an event called Queen Street, and it was a vendor market for black women, and they had a couple of panelists who spoke Tamika, one of them. And it was just great. She gave them all, like a chance to not only come and vend but learn from the speakers and there's just a lot of need for especially with COVID and people needing to find ways to make money and, yeah, really be serious about their work and their businesses that they're trying to start.

Nic 
That's really awesome. That's really cool Laura, I mean, like, I'm glad you got to do it. I'm glad we got to hear a little bit more about it so

Laura 
Thanks for asking. Nic, you know it's a lot of fun to do. I wish I could do more of them but you know I talk about this all day. So, let's get on to our interview.

Nic
Sounds good.

[Interview with Bruce Harvey starts]

Laura
All right, welcome back to EPR today we have Bruce Harvey on the show. Bruce is a historian and cultural resource specialist. He's also a fellow photographer and I started following him shortly after I moved to Syracuse, and I couldn't help but notice that between his architecture photos that were completely amazing and his national park photos that I needed to be stalking him. It was really interesting for me to find out that he worked in NEPA so that's pretty cool. So welcome, Bruce,

Bruce Harvey  
Thank you. I'm very happy to be here.

Laura 

Great, maybe we just kick us off by telling us a little about the work that you do.

Bruce Harvey 
Sure, I'm an independent consultant and historian and photographer, the work is of photographer really is in service my work as a historian, I'm not doing commercial photography or weddings or anything like that it's all in the survey of a community historian, I work in sort of two different arenas, one is environmental compliance the section 106 world called for resources evaluations for the part of the NEPA process, and the other sort of work that I do is work, I do a lot of work for the National Park Service, mostly writing administrative histories. Histories of individual unit of the national park system. So I do both of those kinds of, or both section 106 work and then just work as a historian writing book client studies.

Nic 

Yeah and you do do that all over the country.

Bruce Harvey 
Yes, really both of them all over the country the Park Service, especially a lot of the work that I do for the park service, I work as a part time occasional employee of a small firm outside the box that does mostly federal all federal contracting work and through outside the box we do a lot of work in the Midwest region. So I've  worked on administrative histories, Missouri National recreational river, a Harry S. Truman home. Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. The consulting work, the work under Section 106. I pretty much worked, coast to coast Washington and California. Mostly though on the east coast, from New England all the way down to Florida.

Nic
 
And so how do you get to do that from Syracuse, you must have contacts all over the country,

Bruce Harvey 
Pretty much. I've been working in the consulting historian field for 26 years I think I started in 95'. I was working for an archaeological and preservation and planning firm in Charleston, South Carolina Brockington and Associates. Right and that put me in touch with a number of people we did a lot of work for the Army Corps of Engineers which sent me around to all sorts of the mobile districts of the Corps of Engineers is very pleased at the time they're very aggressive in getting work throughout the country. Yeah, we were, we were our preferred  consultant for them. We had very good relations with the Cultural Resources staff the Mobile district. So they sent us. In addition to all over the southeast, they sent us a couple of projects on the West Coast, one or few others. So, in that work. I got to meet a number of people fellow practitioners, people who are working at that time either on the SHPO, in the State Historic Preservation Office. And now, other places that kept in touch with them. I went from Charleston in 2003 My wife and I moved up to Syracuse, I took a job with a an engineering firm Kleinschmidt and Associates, where we they focused on energy and water resources projects and mostly hydroelectric work. And that again sent me around the country for different projects to Montana, Arkansas, as well as the East Coast. And again, just continuing to meet people either consultants who we would hire I would hire other cultural resources, people that I would hire State Historic Preservation Office staff, other consultants and then I went on my own, in 2009, and so the people in that case the people whom I had hired as phone consultants while it Kleinschmidt then started hiring me. Right, right, right. It's kind of an odd business model that I have in that I'm there are a number of Cultural Resources firms that will need someone like me for specific projects but they can't afford to have me on staff with them they can't, they can't, they don't have it on billable hours for me for a long time position, but they know to call me, they have a project they want to bid on they would like me to go with them and got all the other proposal, and it's just worked out well for the past 12 years I guess I've been on my own.

Laura  
That's great. So I've you know, I've been following your photography, since I moved to Syracuse, and it's beautiful. So when did you get started doing photography, how long have you been doing that,

Bruce Harvey 

Really quite a while, the work that I was doing in Charleston, South Carolina for Brockington Associates we did quite a lot of architectural survey work road widening other sorts of public projects that were going to impact buildings. So we just said we had to go to the project and start photographing a 35 millimeter film at that time you did not know and I just always enjoyed the photography part, I started doing the large format photography which is what you use for the HABS and HAER of photography. I got going with that in the late 90s But I had first found out about it. When I was working in my master's degree at University of South Carolina, and I was trying to study architectural history, and I found that I was getting more interested in the photographs of the buildings, then on the buildings themselves.  I mean I love the historic buildings in terms of really delving into the details, by not to have less patience for the details of the architecture and more for the photograph itself. Yeah. After a number of years. I didn't pursue it very diligently at the time but it was always in the back of the mind and I would mention it occasionally and it's through talking to people that way I found out about large format that the photographs that I was seeing were mostly done in a large format camera which I didn't know what that was. And I kept asking around asking around and finally, when we lived in Charleston, I mentioned to a friend who had been a commercial photographer and he said well I've got a large format camera up in the attic I'm not using anymore. Do you want to you want to like try it out. So he showed me the basics of it. So that was probably 97'/98' or something like that, and it just started to click, and I just found that I really enjoyed it. It's a fascinating way to take photographs, it's much slower. It's more cumbersome, but it's fun, but I also knew at that point I was working for Brockington and  Associates and I knew that HABS and HAER photography was another tool to add into my kit as a consultant historian, so it was fun, it's an enjoyable way to take photographs.

Nic 
Yeah, so I'd love to hear more about like how those two things tied together so the HABS and HAER reports, so the photos that you're taking for those reports can kind of walk us through like what is the purpose of those, and how do they kind of tie into section 106 as well.

Bruce Harvey 

Sure. Yeah, the HABS and HAER, you keep burrowing down for that little dark corner of the NEPA mansion and yeah scurrying around for crumbs to pick up in that little dark corner yeah it's a it's a very small sub sub subset of NEPA. But they start with the basics HABS and HAER, their acronym is the Historic American Building Survey and Historic American Engineering Record. HABS was originally a New Deal program that mid 1930s to put out of work, architects to work by dealing measure drawings of massively significant historic buildings you know Mount Vernon, that sort of thing. Yeah, over the next year or two in the mid 30s They started adding some historians, and then some photographers to help the architects. And so the over the course of those few years in the 30s they developed a set of standards and guidelines for documenting historic buildings and includes large format black and white photographs, the historic narrative, and in some case. Now, it's interesting now and it's only in some cases, are there actual measured drawings that are done, so that that New Deal program, the Historic American Building Survey, left, left us the legacy of standards and guidelines for a formal very formal documentation of historic buildings. HAER, historic American engineering record was added in the late 1960s part of the wave of social history, the growth in the interest in social history to include not just the big important buildings but power stations hydroelectric facilities, canals, other sorts of engineering things that tend to be in the background but are significant nonetheless to the nation's development. And then in more recent years, they've added HALS, the Historic American Landscape Survey to pick up on the wave really since the late 80s, early 90s, the interest in cultural landscapes and understanding the significance and cultural landscapes. The standards are maintained and evaluated by the National Park Service, the Park Service does have, I think they do still have one large format photographer on staff but mostly the Park Service, they maintain the HABS and HAER collection at the Library of Congress. And they oversee the development and implementations of the standards and guidelines. So HABS and HAER is usually done as mitigation. Within NEPA the cultural resources segment of NEPA of course is driven by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended section 106, of which I just love that it's in a one sentence or two sentences. Yeah. It just calls for the head of any federal agency to and the phrases to take into consideration the effects of their actions on historic properties that one little sentence is created this  industry now in the regulations, then implemented specify how you're going to evaluate whether something is a historic property of significant it is. It outlines procedures to try and avoid effects to the historic properties. And then, after you go through all this flowchart of NEPA, if this than that. Right, right. If it's a final and the resource is found to be significant and it cannot be saved, then you talk about mitigation ways to make up for the loss of that resource. And one of the standard ways it's not the only way, but one of the standard ways to mitigate is to document that resource to the standards of HABS and HAER. So that's how you get it's a whole flowchart process that goes through. And which is why I say it's kind of down at the very tail end subset of section 106 process and what it entails. Usually there are different levels of effort involved in HABS and HAER. Levels one, two and three mostly level one is for the really significant and important stuff historic landmarks that sort of thing. For those, it's large format black and white photography, the historic narrative and original measure of drawings, and then you move down into levels of government until you just get large format photography or brief narrative, and copies if possible of existing plans or the resource, the weight of photography fits in perfectly versus really held to the standard of lower format black and white negatives in large format, what we're talking about with larger format is the size the negatives.

There's a 35 millimeter format for film, there's medium format the 120 film and then large format is in sheets of film, either a four inches by five inches by seven inches or eight by 10 inches. And there are a number of reasons for all of those choices, the film is used because, well, black and white film specifically is used because black and white film and properly processed is more archived and stable than any other image that's there, I think, if I remember I would stand to be corrected on this but if I remember hearing somewhere the Library of Congress that estimated a 500 year lifespan. Wow properly processed black and white negatives, but they're just as long as they're processed properly clean, fixed clean, washed. They're pretty much indestructible, you know, leave them in a desk drawer in Texas for a couple of decades and they'll be fine. When you're dealing with them last week coordination of a really significant historic property, archival longevity is an important thing that's your goal, so black and white negatives are used for longevity the large format is the bigger negative so at least before there were really good digital cameras. It was the highest resolution of greatest detail you can get. And it's still very, very good. there are good digital cameras I can get just as good a resolution, but they don't give you a negative, right. The other thing that large format, it allows you, large format cameras allow you to control the shape and the focus of your image that normal that normal cameras, won't let you do, these are the cameras of the bellows being used with a black cloth. Oh yeah, and what the bellows allow you to do you can move the lens and the film, independently of one another. So you can change the shape of your image in a way that will let you correct for perspective, in a way that normal cameras can't, you can avoid keystoning where the top of the building is pointing inward, if the building is truly vertical then you feel that it's truly vertical, and these view cameras, the large one that view cameras will let you do that.

Laura
That's pretty awesome.

Bruce Harvey
It is. 10 or so years ago I photographed an 1870s apartment building on the edge of the, one of the Androscoggin rivers ain Auburn, Maine. It was a  three or four storey building built right on the edge of the river and was listing but three or four degrees. Which is why it was going to be torn down.  And I leveled my camera perfectly and you can see, the degree to which the building is listed. Yeah, so you can really control focus, you can control the shape or the image in a way that you can't do with a normal camera in camera itself right enrollment in digital manipulation of digital images. You can do all sorts of things but actually in the camera, created at the time you're standing there, the large format camera gives you that flexibility to control perspective and control shape. So that's why I use black and white negatives in large format on view cameras for HABS and HAER, for the accuracy.

Laura 
That makes sense. That's very neat.

Nic
It really is.

Laura
Plus it gives you a great excuse to keep using that camera right.

Bruce Harvey 
You know, I know that the Park Service, From what I understand they're starting to experiment with ways that digital technology can be used for HABS and HAER documentation, they are already allowing digitally printed contact prints in lieu of traditional wet darkroom processed contact prints, And from what I understand they're starting to look at ways to use the especially the new HABS photographer for the park service, sort of look at ways of using digital technology and hubs and their documentation to maintain the archival quality of the image, but I can't help thinking there's always going to be room for the traditional large format, black and white photography for HABS and HAER.

Nic
Yeah, I mean yeah, you need a backup honestly.

Bruce Harvey
Exactly, and it's also tried and true. Yeah, the chemistry is the same since. What the 1890s believe that technology you need is the light bulb in a dark room to make these deceptively simple kind of process. It  is tried and true, they know the technology works they know how long everything lasts and archives. So I think if it yeah the HABS and HAER is a very nice way to keep, allow me to keep using this variable technology, even with new equipment.

Laura 
That's pretty amazing. And, you know, you mentioned that your work is all over the country so have you been able to travel. Has your work stopped over the last year.  Are you traveling again.

Bruce Harvey 
I've never stopped traveling. It doesn't have anything to do with COVID As far as I know, but my work. I've just been getting quite a lot of work in the past two years, and it didn't let up during COVID, but the National Park Service, only has recently reopened and now they're starting to close down again. So my Parks Service work, at least the field research part of it. I had to put most of that on hold but other projects. My section 106 work and my HABS and HAER work has continued unabated and it's been as busy a travel years I've ever had. Wow. Yeah, even last year during the pandemic like I still had work in Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico. A few others. Oh eastern New York.

Nic
 
There we go, Yeah, yeah. Okay, so this is, this is gonna be an unfair question so I just want to preface that but. Okay, so you've taken a lot of photographs of a lot of different buildings and a lot of different areas. Yes. What's your favorite, favorite,

Bruce Harvey 
you know, I think about that sometimes, because I down in the basement, I've got files and 1000s and 1000s of four by five images. Yeah, I'll have to pull something out for some reason to say, oh, gosh, I really I wonder if that's one of my top 10 favorites. That'll happen to me 30, 40, 50 times that one of those is going to be in the top 10. But there are a few that I missed. Whenever I think of enjoyable photographs that really come to mind, back in 2007 I did some volunteer work for the Erie Canal Museum here in Syracuse, where they did an exhibit on the way that hydroelectric power was integrated into the creation of the Barge Canal in the 1910s when they reinvigorated the Erie Canal and the subsidiary canals in New York state into one system. And when they did that they incorporated hydroelectric power both can power the lochs. But then also, they, in many cases they use much bigger dams and they allow in private companies don't hydroelectric facilities, hydroelectric plants at canal dams. So I, for the summer and fall of 2007, I went around the state and did a lot of photographs and one of them. As it turns out, was in my hometown, a little canal in New York. Yeah, it was in Newark, New York, and it was, I went there actually with a curator at the museum at that point now He's the assistant director of the Erie Canal and National Heritage corridor. We drove out in just a spectacularly beautiful October day in 2007, when we had pretty much finished in Newark with everything I needed to and just as I was putting the camera away there was, I noticed that the moon was starting to come up and you can see it across the middle stantion and one across the canal so I don't know that I've ever set the camera up quite I'd already put the camera away, but I set it up as fast as I ever have before because the moon was rising. And yeah, four o'clock or so in the afternoon and I had to move in camera once or twice, it's not a fast way of doing photographs, right, and by the time I got it set up the moon had actually moved out of where I wanted. So I'm moving the camera once or twice, and I figured out the filter that I needed. I think it gives just one negative of it, and it just worked. Again, the moon is only small but when I was careful printing, you can see it. The light on the metal stantion across the canal just glowed. Yeah, it was a nice reflection of a small powerhouse in the canal. So that's one that kind of, that's when it sticks with me but like I say, anytime I go into one of the files I find, like, my favorite be one of my top 10 Yeah, exactly. It's hard to pick up one but that that is one from my, especially since there's my hometown, where I grew up,  a little small town in Central Western New York, but that's one that sticks with me.

Laura 
For the record, everyone listening the meows today are not brought to you by our podcast that's Bruce Harvey's photocat.

Bruce Harvey 
I apologize for that. She can't be vocal.

Laura 
It's okay.

Nic
You're in a safe space here.

Laura
It's a cat friendly place.

Nic 
it's speaking of like you know your history or projects you've been all over the place you've seen all kinds of things you have a more recent one, doing a HAER report at NASA's White Sands testing facility, New Mexico. Tell us a little about that.

Bruce Harvey 
Oh gosh, that was fun. That's another one, actually I did, I didn't do as an independent I did that through Outside the Box, because there was a federal federal contract as an independent I just can't really contract directly with the federal government, right, that is too difficult. So they had NASA they issued an RFP we responded, we won the work that was the document in engine Test Stand at the White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was a facility that NASA built in the early 60s as part of the Apollo program. Oh wow. It was designed to test, not so much engines but really propulsion systems, for some of the lunar Lunar Excursion Module and the lunar command module, they built a series of different facilities within the White Sands Test Facility to do different kinds of tests, different components, and the one that I was documenting, they built in 64 and then altered in 65' to create what is called an altitude test chamber, a big giant circular tank about 30,000 feet in diameter of 30 some feet tall, where they could create a vacuum. They can test propulsion systems at different altitudes. They can create a different levels of vacuum to simulate different altitudes, and it had been. It hasn't been used this particular test and since 96. Okay, so they're getting rid of it, it'll be replaced with another structure. And it was just such a dream come true. I've never been in New Mexico before it was spectacularly beautiful, Laura, you'll understand this being in Syracuse. As a photographer, we don't usually think of light, in terms of being really intense. We have  clouds we have overcast, doing the work there was really pretty. It was difficult photography in the light was so intense, the structure has a lot of open metal grading so there are a lot of shadow areas, yeah and the intensity of light, it was difficult to get images and have a good even exposure. But it was all of the photos worked, it was some of the, one of the best set of photos. Maybe I've done in like, 20, whatever years NASA had to do a lot of the research for me because it was in facilities where I just didn't have access to either at the Johnson Space Center, or others so they provided me with most of the  information. I then wrote my narrative I did both the photography and the historic narrative. And it was just a picture perfect project other than, you know, there was a delay in getting out there because COVID Right. I was supposed to do the work in March of last year, right when everything was shutting down, but in late, sort of early late August, early September, it looked like things were doing better. There were fewer quarantine restrictions, and most importantly also NASA lifted the order for White Sands Test Facility that kept all non essential people off the facility, then it shut down again not long after I was there there was been three or four week window where things were open and I happen to be there at just the right time. So I got the work done getting the narrative, NASA was incredibly helpful and supportive both NASA and their contractors, and it was about a smooth, especially for a project in this scale. Yeah, it was about a smooth project ever had plus, I got some of the best photographs in front of a series of photographs, some of the best one about the best series that have ever done.

Nic  
So it's like one of the 30 or 40 in your top 10

Bruce Harvey 
One or one or two of them, one or two of the photos are there was one in particular that I remember that I set up I just did. Recently, I've been very bad about updating my website, but I did just put a post about that on my website and the first image is one when I, when I set up the camera with a large format camera the way it works is that the reason you have a black cloth is when you're composing the image, you set the shutter open and it shines back on a piece of frosted glass at the back of the camera, which is exactly where the film will be when you put it in so you can compose your image there. The first place I set the camera up to do this one view with this lens that I knew would work for it immediately on the ground glass like, oh my gosh, this is the picture I've been waiting for. But with all always with film you don't really know until you see the negative, so of the negative came back and did exactly what I wanted to get lined up perfectly it frames nicely. And yeah, That's, that's a contender for the top 10

Nic
There we go. Yeah,

Laura 
So do you get to keep the photos or do they own them, like what's the copyright on those.

Bruce Harvey  
Well, the copyright issues no that the photographs have been submitted to and accepted by the National Park Service for delivery for to the Library of Congress so any photographs that go to the Park Service, I actually sign a waiver, I mean a relief that they are now in the public domain. There is no copyright, they are in public domain photograph. I always shoot for at least for the documentation project, I always shoot two negatives with every view my life insurance. Yeah. Because film can be unpredictable you might have a scratch on the negative you might have camera shake. For whatever reason, something just might not work so I like having the backup. So I have all of my backup negatives for almost all of my projects, especially the ones that are done for HABS and HAER, they are they're all public domain, so I can use them but really anyone else can also awesome. Yeah.

Laura 
All right, well no I don't want to see your stuff on Instagram what's happening there. So, that's cool.

Nic  
You see, don't you also do a fair bit of volunteer projects, Can you tell us a little bit about like, it was volunteer photography for the preservation League.

Bruce Harvey 

That was fantastic. The preservation league in New York state, every other year, they solicit applications for and then select their, what they call their seven to save what the preservation League has determined is the seven most threatened properties around the state and the threat will be in a wide number of types, local organizations will prepare nominations to be on the list. It's a list you actually kind of want to be on. Okay, because one year selected to preservation League, then takes two years to help you address whatever the threats are whether it's support with fundraising, technical preservation support, legislative support, having studies done. So it's a fantastic program is not just raise awareness thing but the league actually works with local communities to address specific threats in 2016. I saw the list, the seven state list being was announced in March of 2016 and I know a friend and colleague is actually, he just stepped down as the vice president for policy for the league, and I got in touch with and I said, you know, what about maybe doing a HABS and HAER level, not quite as comprehensive and doing HABS and HAER level photograph of the seven to save, either as a backstop in case you're unsuccessful saving them or to help maybe awareness, maybe an exhibit, or figured out something that took her about, you know, three or four seconds to say yes. I volunteer my time they covered my travel expenses because it was going around the state. Right. The first year was in 2016, I have to admit, I volunteered to do all seven just so that I can photograph one of them. It was the Gould Memorial Library which is Stanford White's masterpiece. That one is now the Bronx Community College. She was the Upstate up was the Uptown campus of New York University, I think he designed a three building complex with a library and two lanes and not being a professional photographer, the likelihood that I would ever get a chance to photograph a  Stanford White building is pretty much your nill. Yeah, so I volunteered to do all seven of them mostly so I could do the Gould Memorial Library, and it was I wanted to have that library on my cell phone again it was a four by five camera that's just a dream come true. I did all seven of them that year and we did an exhibit, we were sort of feeling the way through that was until the next year that I get to make the prints for an exhibit that they showed up. They renovated some gallery space in that office and Albany we did an exhibit. So then in 2018, we did a little bit more in the way of advance planning, they let me know the list before it was released, so I can start to make some plans, and I actually hurried along and completed all of photography by the summer of 2018 So we're actually open a new exhibit in the fall of 2018, which they then traveled around the state. They brought it to the communities where the threatened properties were located, and it t was a really nice thing.  We didn't do anything in 2020, in part because I had a little bit too full of plate to do with the kind of traveling and then it turned out I wouldn't been able to travel anyway, or at least not like I would have wanted to but hopefully I can do that again. It's a fun way for me to see things that helps to get a little bit of awareness, both through the exhibits that travel around the state. And then of course, I put the images and the travels on Instagram, linked to the league, getting a little bit of awareness going with that as well.

Nic 
Nice. That's nice,

Laura 
super cool. Well Bruce we are at our time so I can't wait to be able to tag along with you on one project, we've been talking about this for a while.

Bruce Harvey 
You will be welcome anytime.

Laura  
Yeah, and we're gonna send Nic a selfie so he can see what we're up to without him.

Bruce Harvey 
Right right right.

Laura 
Is there anything else you want to share with us before we go.

Bruce Harvey 
No, not that I can think of, no this, but this has been good fun I'm most grateful for the chance to talk to the two of you and be on the program, enjoyed it and thank you.

Nic 
Yeah, thank you too, and before you go, why don't you tell people where they can get in touch with you on your Instagram and your website.

Bruce Harvey 
Oh, sure. Well, the website is the official way, that's the bgharvey.com. The Instagram is where I tend to be more active just because it's fun. Is @BGHarveysyr. And than email is anyone's welcome to reach out by email at the [email protected]

Nic 
Cool. Awesome, well thank you very much for your time today.

Bruce Harvey 

Well thank you, it's a pleasure to talk to the two of you.

Laura 
Thanks, Bruce, we'll see you soon.

Bruce Harvey
Take care.

[Outro]

Laura
That's our show. Thanks Bruce for joining us today. Please be sure to check us out each and every Friday, and don't forget to subscribe, rate and review. Bye.

Nic
See you everybody.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Intro
Shout outs
Nic and Laura discuss Pitch your Pivot
Interview with Bruce Harvey starts
Bruce talks about photography
Bruce discusses taking photos for HABS/HAER reports
Bruce talks about working in remote places
Bruces describes his favorite photos
Bruce discusses volunteer photography
Outro