FLAAR is worldwide but has a historical background and interest in Latin America Print
Here is the view from Nicholas’s office at FLAAR Mesoamerica in Guatemala City.

The founder of FLAAR and its President since 1969 has been exploring Latin America since 1962, when he studied Spanish in Saltillo, Mexico, at age 16. That summer he visited the Mayan ruins of Palenque, and became infected with an interest in Maya archaeology. His thesis in high school was on Maya civilization; it won first prize. This led to being accepted at Harvard where four years later his 400 page thesis on his discovery of the royal tomb of a Mayan king at Tikal (Peten, Guatemala) was given a Summa Cum Laude (he graduated only cum laude from Harvard because his lack of patience with physics and chemistry pulled his overall grade average down). After many years Nicholas received a PhD in art history from Karl-Franzens Universitaet, Graz (Austria), published as a coffee-table art book in Austria.

But what was always parallel to the intellectual curiosity about the national patrimony of the Latin American countries, was a desire to improve the level of photography and quality illustrations of field reports. Often the better scholars and scientists did not have the time, or interest, or the equipment to do adequate photography. So already by the 1970’s, FLAAR was a leader in using medium format (Hasselblad) photography to record ancient art. By the 1990’s FLAAR photographs were published in books in Europe, Japan, and on the front covers of books on Mayan archaeology in the US. National Geographic used thirteen photographs from the FLAAR Photo Archive in their book on the Maya in the 1980’s. Nicholas’s photos have also been published by the Hasselbald magazine.

When digital technology gradually began to develop in the 1990’s, Dr Hellmuth was awarded two grants (coincidence that both were approximately the same year). These substantial grants resulted in FLAAR become a leader in digital imaging technology, which we still apply to our studies in Latin America. So although FLAAR is now the de facto independent resource for information on digital imaging hardware and software in more than 62 countries around the world, we still maintain an office in Latin America.

FLAAR Latin America at Francisco Marroquin University.

We appreciate the opportunity to have provided digital imaging equipment evaluation services and to provide printing services, including giclee, for the Universidad Francisco Marroquin for five years.

UFM is one of the leading universities for offering courses and programs in business administration. These programs are expanding under the new Rector and his capable team. UFM also has a capable medical school, dental school, and other programs that are considered at international level. UFM is also one of the most beautifully landscaped universities that I have seen anywhere in the world.

FLAAR, which is dedicated to digital technology and its role in assisting archaeological research and museum presentation of ancient cultures of Latin America, is more appropriate to transition to a university, or museum, more in these fields. As a result during summer 2005 we are phasing out our facilities at UFM.

If your university would like an alliance with FLAAR and would like to benefit from our digital imaging expertise and equipment, please contact us at our US fax (BGSU, Ohio), 419 372 8283.

FLAAR maintains its presence on the campus of BGUS, but since RIP software tends to be made in Europe and most wide format inkjet printers are now being manufactured in China, we are especially interested in forming alliances with universities in Europe and China. For Europe we are interested in considering alliances with a university, Hochschule, museum, or educational/cultural institute in any country including Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, and Balkan countries.

With the technology of Skype and the Internet, it is possible to maintain an office in the US and have outposts and alliances with universities in other countries.

Asociacion FLAAR Mesoamerica.

Nicholas Helmuth
Using a 33-megapixel medium format Phase One P 30 camera in Guatemala during summer 2006 is a continuation of over 36 years of learning, through first hand experience, how to employ advanced photographic technology for studies of Latin America. Here we are photographing as part of our long-range project in how to utilize digital technology to create an archive of visual references to the ethno-botany of the Maya: namely all the plants that were used, eaten, or worshipped or revered in mythology. We are also interested in variable-data short run digital presses for subsequently publishing our studies.

FLAAR Mesoamerica is formed under the laws of Guatemala as a non-profit research institute. FLAAR Mesoamerica assists in the projects of FLAAR (still headquartered in the USA).

Among our goals in Latin America are research and public education on advances in digital imaging technology and how this can be applied to studies of the natural resources of Guatemala and adjacent Central America. Our interests are applied technology for using scanners, advanced digital cameras, and wide-format inkjet printing technology to further documentation and publications in ethno-botany, zoology, and mineral resources that were of interest to indigenous pre-Columbian cultures. Our projects and long-term goals will be presented on www.maya-archaeology.org. Our programs in digital photography are presented on www.digital-photography.org. Our abilities in giclee are discussed on www.FineArtGicleePrinters.org.

FLAAR Mesoamerica and FLAAR in the US offers digital imaging services and consulting worldwide, relative to archiving images of Latin American cultural heritage, scanning, inkjet printers, digital photography, and variable data short-run digital printing technologies. FLAAR staff are also available to lecture around the world, in English, Spanish, German, or simultaneously translated into your local language. Lectures are available on digital imaging technology, digital imaging hard ware and software, archaeology, ethno-botany, tropical flora and fauna, and mineral resources of pertinent interest to pre-columbian Mesoamerica.

FLAAR continues as a non-profit entity in the US, headquartered presently in Ohio. With our partners at BGSU we have created the largest center of inkjet printing studies in the world. The years of research and publications of FLAAR are available on www.wide-format-printers.net.

Although we intend to maintain an office in Guatemala and in the US, we are interested in partnering with a university or museum in Mexico, Costa Rica or elsewhere in Central America, Chile, Ecuador or Peru. With the Internet, and Skype for free telephone communication, it is much easier to communicate with other countries than was possible in the past.





First posted August 07, 2006.

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