British photographic history

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Glass Plate Photography: The Photograph as Document

A selection of the glass plate negatives that form the substantial collections of George Washington Wilson and the Aberdeen Harbour Board have produced a set of fine photographic prints that will be exhibited by the Special Collections Centre at the University Library in Set in Silver: Contemporary Reflections on Glass Plate Photography. The images seen across both collections demonstrate a distinctive application of this delicate art. 

The fragile photographic plates are made from glass, with the image retained in a silver solution that rests delicately on the surface. Many thousands of the plates have been digitally scanned at the Special Collections Centre through a painstaking process which has resulted in the exposure of a special selection of prints for the first time to a contemporary audience. 

Photographic elements in the exhibition will be augmented by items borrowed from private and public collections such as the Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections. 

The exhibition incorporates a selection of films produced by students of the Film & Visual Culture course at the University of Aberdeen, introducing dynamic moving image elements to the exhibition. The films document a contemporary version of the scenes evident in the featured photographs. In this way, the viewer will be able to observe the changes in the city and around the harbour area to the present day.

Details of the exhibition can be found here. Also, photographer Alicia Bruce reflects on the Set in Silver exhibition, whilst drawing parallels with her own practice at a special talk at the Special Collections Centre, University Library, University of Aberdeen on 12th May 2012 from 2.00pm to 2.45pm.

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