A testimonial by François Wouters who managed the inventory and classification of the VM photographs fund mainly made of pictures taken in the first half of the 20th century.
Those photographs now cleaned and classified have already served and will contribute in the future  to illustrate the books of members of the VMH association ( ex : Porta Flavia – book of M.Buosi about the history of Vieille Montagne in Sardinia)   
« In November 2018, I started to scan at CHST of the University of Liège.
The largest boxes were scanned in late February 2019. I was invited for 10 weeks, one day a week, and I scanned at an infernal rate.
Each photo was then in an envelope with the Angleur number and a short explanation.
Envelopes and photos were scanned. About 4500 scans in total.

Then I did an inventory in Excel.
Each numbered photo is included in the VMH inventory, given its own number.

Later, all scans had to be cut and cleaned until they looked more or less like a photo.
Per scan day, 4 editing days have been added. So 10 + 40 days for the first inventory.
Result 2210 photos.
There were spots, blurred even holes. Therefore, the worst were later updated with Photoshop. Average 15 to 30 minutes per photo.
This concerned 798 pieces.
Cleaned versions have been added to the archives. The originals were kept, not erased.
So, in addition to the 2,210 photos, 798 others have been improved.
The photographs archives fund currently contains more than 3000 photos (3008 photos exactly) »



Opportunities through cooperation

“Thanks to Vieille Montagne Heritage, numerous opportunities have arisen. Vieille Montagne Heritage has brought together a group of people who open doors for researchers!
Archives are being identified and inventoried. We now know where to look. The interest in each other’s work is also a stimulus for us to work hard to record the history of VM.
An example of this are the photo archives. Thanks to the photos from the old Vieille Montagne – Angleur collection, we can supplement each other’s archives, but often also upgrade them considerably. Thanks to the photo archive of CHST, which is now moved to the MMIL, I was able to upgrade the archives of Balen.
In Balen we had almost 2,000 photos. More than 700 photos have been added from the Liège archive (*) This has not only increased the quantity considerably but also the quality. Furthermore, there are still numerous photos from Sweden at Stefan’s and we are also collecting photos from England and Sardinia.

(*) The Liege archive consisted of a collection of printed photographs kept in boxes. Each site had one or more boxes. All these photos (2,300) were scanned one by one, cut to size and inventoried in a spreadsheet.
Without VMH and Arnaud Péters I would never have been able to access this. Thank you for that.
At least 850 of these photos were improved as best as possible by photoshop (the originals were retained).

A lot of photos required a lot of work.
Sometimes details had to be worked on. Light and dark, sharpness, mould or holes… Sometimes a monk’s work.
Improvements were made to many pictures. But I always kept the originals to.

In the past, we sometimes had to make do with poor quality photos.
This one is from the old archive of Balen. Vague, unclear and not the quality we are aiming for. But we had to make do with it.


Thanks to the Liege archives, and with a little flying and art work, we were able to produce better results.

In the Liege Archives, we found three photos of the front view of the Balen site. So we made a collage of the three photos into one beautiful picture.

In this presentation, I have used a low resolution. But the originals have been scanned at 600 dpi and are extremely sharp. You can fill a wall with them. See the result on next page.

The 3 photos of Balen from the Angleur-Archive, which we used for the collage.

The result: a beautiful photo of the site Balen. VMH-BA-1909 Balen-Wezel 1902 Vieille Montagne Roasting plant

The two archives together, Balen and Liège, contain about 5,000 photos. Not all of them are beautiful, but enough to give a good picture of VM over the years. Perhaps we should put the best of them on display one day.
A few more photos to give you an idea… The originals are of course with a higher resolution…

François Wouters (Balen – Belgium)