Yifan Zou wins PhD Student Research Photo Collaboration

Yifan Zou wins PhD Student Research Photo Collaboration

July 2, 2020


The Visual Resources Center is delighted to announce that Yifan Zou is the winner of the inaugural PhD Student Research Photo Collaboration. Yifan photographed and documented various architectural complexes during a research trip to Teotihuacan, a Mesoamerican site outside of Mexico City, in December 2019. Her archival contribution of nearly 400 photographs went above and beyond the initial call for images, and its addition to the VRC’s image database, LUNA, has expanded the existing corpus of Teotihuacan photos by more than 50%. Her original site photography allows for future users to have both a sense of height and spatial reference of the structures, as well as a better sense of virtually moving through the spaces of the ancient city. The images can be accessed here (CNetID required).

The PhD Student Research Photo Collaboration pilot program was announced in April 2019 as part of efforts to assist graduate students with managing their growing personal collections of images from research, archives, and fieldwork, while simultaneously building the department’s teaching image collections. Art History PhD students planning domestic or international research trips during the 2019–2020 academic year were invited to contribute a selection of their photographs along with descriptive metadata captions. As part of the Photo Collaboration, VRC staff consulted with students prior to departure to discuss strategies for maintaining research data and techniques for photographing in the field, as well as providing camera equipment and color-checking tools. Yifan helped the VRC create metadata records with robust image descriptions, providing enormously helpful details to orient researchers to the site. 

Yifan additionally participated in the VRC’s collaboration with Prof. Claudia Brittenham’s December 2019 Gold Gorvy Traveling Seminar, where students documented and contributed photos of multiple Mesoamerican sites to LUNA. Her photographs of objects from the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya are the first such additions to the database, and provide detailed views of the Caracol Disk and other Maya stone carvings. 

The VRC is always available for consultations with students interested in gaining more tools to aid their personal research. Graduate students interested in more resources to manage their personal image archives and contributing to future teaching and research, are invited to collaborate with the VRC. Contributions typically consist of a subset of around 200 images of research photographs, which are available via the password-protected LUNA database. The student retains copyright over their images in perpetuity, with a credit line given in LUNA. Students using their images in dissertations may additionally embargo up to 50% of the total number of images. Stay tuned for more details if you'd like to work on an existing personal archive this summer!