Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/1906 San Francisco earthquake by Arnold Genthe

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1906 San Francisco earthquake by Arnold Genthe[edit]

Looking down Sacramento Street with San Francisco on fire, following the 1906 earthquake
Darker, but slighty better quality version (same scan, but without quality-diminuising contrast correction).

Famous photo by famous photographer; Lots of detail about life in turn-of-the century San Francisco - cable car tracks, the architecture, the society woman in her petticoat on the left side of the image. All that juxtaposed with destruction, fire, human drama. Photo appears in 1906 San Francisco earthquake, History of San Francisco, California, and Arnold Genthe.

Note: This nominatation is older than 7 days, but a decison has not been reached. Supporters, please clarify which version you prefer. Older opposers, please consider the alternate version.

  • Nominate and support. - DaveOinSF 17:13, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
Withdrawn and closing FP candidacy.--DaveOinSF 22:31, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Certainly I support Version 2 in addition to Version 1, if consensus can be arrived around Version 2. I do caution that Version 2 is the original scan from which Version 1 was created, and do not see a substantial difference in the number of alleged artifacts. (Mainly because I honestly don't see very many at all.) Those who see these artifacts, please help us clarify whether it is indeed the original scan or whether it is the subsequent contrast correction that is at fault. --DaveOinSF 22:00, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Support (Both) - Certainly a candidate for one of the greatest photos of the last 100 or so years. Paul 18:20, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - It's got my vote. I'm a sucker for historical significance. Witty lama 21:33, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
Oppose Woops, didn't do a very good job looking at this one did I! I defiantely see what you guys mean. Pity though. Witty lama 09:48, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Historical signifigance is great, but it doesn't wholly remove the quality requirement. The resolution is nice, but there are just far too many artifacts for what was clearly a non-digital work to begin with (scan must not have been very HQ). Staxringold talkcontribs 00:51, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
    • "was clearly a non-digital work" Right. They didn't have digital cameras in 1906. The Kodak Brownie was five years old.--Paul 10:33, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
    • Maybe someone should upload this one. NauticaShades(talk) 05:58, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
      • Its the same image, only darker and cropped. It still retains the faults of the FPC. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 07:10, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
        • I meant that this version has much les JPEG artifacts. NauticaShades(talk) 10:33, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
          • You are right. The artifacts in the smoke were evidently caused by a Photoshop contrast correction, as the source for the uploaded image was the one you linked. I still prefer the higher contrast version. I don't usually view pictures @ 400% magnification.--Paul 11:08, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • That was kind of the whole point, Paul. The non-digital version, ie the original, clearly doesn't have those artifacts, meaning the photo being "historically signifigant" doesn't wash away those artifacts because they damage said historical signifigance. Staxringold talkcontribs 13:06, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above --Mcginnly | Natter 01:36, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose both. Artifacts; historically significant pictures should at least be scanned well. --Tewy 03:01, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Ouch, all those jpeg artifacts! --Janke | Talk 06:29, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support (brighter version). The historical significance outweighs any quality issues here. This picture does a good job in conveying the atmosphere in the days after the quake. It is of great value for a number of articles. It is 100 years old - a good picture for that period of time, considering the rather dynamic scenery. Mikeo 06:59, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment from What is a featured picture? Please note...
  1. Be of high quality. It should be sharp and of pleasing colour balance, contrast and brightness, free of compression artifacts (such as in highly packed JPEG files), burned-out highlights, graininess, and other distracting factors.
    • The exception to this rule is the rarity or importance of the image being depicted. The more historically-important an image is, or the rarer the content of the scene, the lower the quality that can be allowed. For example, the first photograph ever taken is of poor quality, but is one-of-a-kind, whereas NASA has a surplus collection of high-quality images.
This image is from the online archive of California, managed by the University of California who performed the scan. This wasn't scanned on a $50 scanner in somebody's attic. I doubt that anyone can find a better quality example of this image. It is essentially one-of-a-kind and qualifies under the exception.--Paul 10:14, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • First, web issued absolutely can be low quality. Hell, a lot of White House shots aren't bigger than 500px or so. The artifacts clearly are not in the original, making this a crummy scan. And the historical signifigance, as I said above, is nullified by the crummy scan. Signifigance is specifically stated to allow the IMAGE to be of poor quality, but here that IMAGE is FP quality, just the particular uploaded representation that isn't so great. Staxringold talkcontribs 13:08, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Okay. Please upload a FP quality jpeg of the Genthe image.--Paul 13:24, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • If I had one I would. I do not. This being the best we have, if it is not anywhere near the best possible and not particularly good in it's current form, it is not a FP simply because it's "what we've got". Try noogying around in Photoshop with the darker version Nautica linked to. Staxringold talkcontribs 17:52, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Just to clarify what you mean - the version that was linked to is the same version that was used as the source for this image. I just want to know whether the "original" version ("original" meaning the one here) is unsalvageable or whether it was the subsequent photoshopping/cropping/whatnot that rendered it unacceptable.--DaveOinSF 19:01, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose due to poor digitization. HighInBC 16:03, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support (original) per Paul, Mikeo. I'm just not seeing the "horrible" artifacts. –Outriggr § 03:27, 26 September 2006 (UTC) & 01:25, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
    • a quote: "On 18 April 1906, the morning of the great San Francisco earthquake, Genthe, with his cameras and studio destroyed, borrowed a hand-held camera and photographed the destruction across the city. Of his over 180 surviving, sharp-focus photographs of San Francisco, probably his most famous image is "San Francisco, April 18th, 1906," which shows a view from Nob Hill, down Sacramento Street. Enormous clouds of smoke ominously approach, buildings' facades have collapse from the quake, and residents stand and sit in the street, in a stupor, calming watching the approaching fire. "Steps that Lead to Nowhere" (also known as "After the Fire") depicts the barren remains of a large house with the lights of the Mission District in the background." Mel Byars, N. Elizabeth Schlatter. "Genthe, Arnold"; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.
  • Support per Paul's comment "This image is from the online archive of California, managed by the University of California who performed the scan. [...] It is essentially one-of-a-kind and qualifies under the exception." TransUtopian 17:28, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support -- Chris 73 | Talk 13:48, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. I understand the opposes, being able to see the artifacts if I zoom in, but I think it's overall an amazing photograph of an important historic event and therefore support. MeekSaffron 14:37, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support per MeekSaffron SOADLuver 20:10, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose, far too artifacted, we can wait until someone gets a better scan or better compressed version. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 20:47, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • You may wait a long time. People don't have original copies of this print lying around in their attics. The best known digital copy available is from the University of California here: Genthe 1906 Fire which is the one we are using. The San Francisco Library has a far worse one click here. Editors do not have the option of uploading a better image, as the existing prints (and who knows how many exist? 10? 20?) are in libraries, and the good libraries have provided a digital version, and the bad libraries haven't digitized it at all. Several editors have now suggested that we should just upload a better scan, that it is possible to have better digital version of this image. Theoretically, that is true. Practically, it is false. It is one-of-a-kind. This is a unique historic artifact. It has scratches and blotches. It is over 100 years old. Instead of complaining that it wasn't shot with a 10 megapixel digital camera and uploaded as a raw tiff, we should be marveling that it is available at all, that we have it at 1300 x 740 resolution, and that we have the privilege to envision what it was like on the morning of April 18, 1906 in San Francisco, and to share that experience with others here on Wikipedia.
Those voting no are letting the perfect be the enemy of the great, and are willfully ignoring the exception granted to rare and historic images.
P.S. Do any of the oppose votes ever watch old B&W films??--Paul 22:13, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
The point is that better quality is possible, and we should strive for that, especially when the flaws here significantly detract from the image. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 00:04, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
How is better quality possible? Can you upload a better version? If not, how do you expect me to upload a better one? Who has a better version? Insisting that something is possible is not the same as actually bringing it into being.--Paul 17:14, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I could call up the historical society and work something out to scan the image. Our exceptions for "irreproducible" images apply because the image is of a historical event that's not going to be recreated. The hindenberg isn't going to crash again, the soviet union isn't going to conquer nazi berlin again. However, this image is still in their archives and can still be scanned again, just like either of those iconic images could be. We don't accept a blurry, poorly compressed version because it is possible to produce a better version. The image itself can't be retaken, but the physical print can be rescanned. We hold featured content to a high standard here, and laziness (not wanting to bother to go through the trouble of getting a copy and rescanning this image) is no excuse to lower that. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 20:32, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
From the California Historical Society website:

"Do you provide digital scans or images for purchase? No"
"May I photograph or scan Library materials myself? By arrangement and at the discretion of library staff, you may take digital photographs for reference use only, using your own camera. Flash is not permitted. A $1.00 per image fee applies. Scanning is not allowed."

If you want to continue to believe that "laziness" is what prohibits other editors from "obtaining a copy" of this photogragh, or that a superior image of this photograph can be easily obtained, go ahead.--Paul 22:48, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I never said it would be easy. The standard for irreproducibility is not ease, though, but possibility. It might be hard to find a rare bird when we only know of two in a zoo somewhere--but the birds are still there to take a better picture of them. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 02:38, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
I uploaded the version I had linked to earlier. NauticaShades(talk) 12:57, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Striking view of the fire with all of the onlookers. — BRIAN0918 • 2006-09-29 04:30Z
  • Weak Oppose. If there are copies in various libraries, then this could be replaced with a technically superior version. Nobody is complaining that this wasn't taken with a 10 megapixel camera... only that the scan, which was made with modern equipment, is lacking. Historical significance offsets technical deficiencies because in most cases those technical deficiencies cannot be overcome. In this case, those technical deficiencies that people are concerned with can be overcome. I agree that this is a compelling image, but would like to see a better scan of it. -- Moondigger 11:17, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Not many photagraphs of this. | AndonicO 14:11, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - Adds volumes to the subject. When (and if) a better quality version comes along, it can replace this. doniv 15:39, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Support version 2 only. NauticaShades(talk) 16:11, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Version 2. sikander 18:50, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment 13 support and 7 oppose is still one short of the 2/3rds usually taken as a supermajority consensus around here. Given the fact that none of the objections have been addressed, only dismissed, I don't think this image deserves to be promoted. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 20:42, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
This is a bit disingenuous. The objections raised were of a nature that is technically impossible to address - it was alleged that the image was scanned badly - and the comments made in response to the "oppose" votes were made to make clear that addressing such an objection is impossible. Indeed, in an effort to confirm that it was indeed the Historical Society's scan and not my subsequent edit and contrast correction that rendered the image unacceptable, I did ask whether the original scan from which Version 1 was created (linked above and which has since been uploaded as Version 2) has fewer of these alleged artifacts. --DaveOinSF 22:00, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
and since it's fundamentally flawed, we shouldn't promote it until we can get a better scan. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 22:03, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
There's quite a bit of disagreement on this, if you read this thread. Apparently there are some people who objected to Version 1 but not to Version 2, which suggests that in some people's view, the alleged artifacts are not due to the scan, and thus it is not fundamentally flawed. If this can truly clarify this issue, we can actually get somewhere. --DaveOinSF 22:11, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Comment It is perhaps a bit beyond disingenuous for some editors to continue to insist on waiting for "a better scan" when it has been pointed out that this is almost impossible. I know of two physical copies of this photo. The one in the SF library is of inferior quality, and the one at the Historical Society cannot be rescanned. Nor, of course, can someone take another photo of this event. There are far fewer artifacts in the second version, and that is likely to be the best version we will ever have. My take is that since we have a majority in favor, the administrator should promote the image anyway, as opposing voters are disregarding a fairly clear exception, and have been proposing remedies that are not possible. --Paul 22:31, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that many people who opposed at the beginning may not be aware of the new version and have not taken it into considereation. In my opinion, they should be contacted and told to modify their vote (or choose not to), and then the votes shuld be re-tallied later. At any rate, this should not be closed yet, as even most of those who support haven't clarified which version they prefer. NauticaShades(talk) 10:14, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The scan is flawed. While it is regrettable that it is difficult to obtain a superior scan, the existing image is poor enough quality to refrain from granting featured status. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 23:56, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong Support The historical significance outweighs and petty compression/scanning issues. It's very good quality compared to some of the other pictures that could be found on wikipedia! Jellocube27 14:34, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Neutral - Historically important but not very imporant plus the quality is not really good. Can't support, but can't oppose. Arad 04:29, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Interesting picture, but the quality is too bad. I might support a better scan. --KFP (talk | contribs) 13:28, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
    • There are no better scans. Period. NauticaShades 14:48, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Not promoted --DaveOinSF 22:33, 16 October 2006 (UTC)