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Camille Silvy, 1834-1910

Just to add a little more to the Silvy thread: Camille Silvy died on 2 February 1910, so next Tuesday is the centenary of his death. A number of Silvy aficionados I know will be raising a glass in his memory on that day. Please join us virtually. The Silvy centenary retrospective runs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 15 July-24 October.Mark Haworth-Booth
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Changes to NMeM foyer

12200885287?profile=originalThe latest National Media Museum blog reports on the progress with the redevelopment of the museum foyer. The box office has been moved closer to Pictureville and is nearing completion and the former shop space is being turned in to a games lounge. This will have historic video games for visitors to play. The former box office space will feature a Welcome Wall - an electronic orientation and information screen. The works which are costing £400,000 are due to be complete in time for the school half-term holidays in February. More details and pictures here:
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NMeM job: Assistant Registrar

Award winning, visionary and truly unique, the National Media Museum embraces photography, film, television, radio and the web. Part of the NMSI family of museums, we aim to engage, inspire and educate through comprehensive collections, innovative education programmes and a powerful yet sensitive approach to contemporary issues.

With thousands of highly significant items encompassing television, cinematography, photography and new media, the National Media Museum’s diverse collections are of national importance. You’ll help us protect them for future generations by administering recent acquisitions, formalising records of objects and arranging indemnities and commercial insurance. You will also contribute to the delivery of exciting temporary exhibitions by effectively organising loans in and out.

Required Skills:
With a good track record in a similar environment, you’ll have experience of co-ordinating collections management procedures, completing relevant documentation and using a collections database. You should be a real team player with superb attention to detail too, even under pressure! If you can also add great communication, organisational and problem solving skills, you’ll have exactly what we’re looking for.

Application Instructions:
Interested? Please email your CV and covering letter to:

We regret that we can only respond to successful applicants.

No agencies please.

We are an equal opportunities employer.

Assistant Registrar
14.4 hours per week (fixed term - 23 months)
£16,605 per annum (pro rata) (£6,642)

Closing date: 8th February 2010
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Early Derbyshire stereoviews

A few days ago I had a phone call from a friend in another town. “Do you still collect those stereoscopic pictures?” he asked, “because there is a bundle of them in the local auction this morning”.With 15 minutes to go before the start of the auction, no on-line options, and only my friend’s comment - “they look pretty scruffy to me”, I faced a dilemma. I placed a blind telephone bid and yesterday received the lot – which indeed was very scruffy, for the winning price of £20. As I sorted through the pile of dirty and damaged cards, many of which turned out to be lithos, I began to feel that even at £20 this was not a great buy.Then I came across four cards – clearly very early and strikingly more interesting than their companions. On thin white card, with left and right images printed on a single piece of albumen paper. They showed two wonderful occupational scenes – a blacksmith and a knife grinder, a view of an un-named house and a picture of a horse drawn coach. As I studied these with the scanner it became clear that they were a coherent group – one teenage boy is seen in both the occupational views and the style of the others suggest they are by the same hand. However it was when I examined the coach that things became even more interesting. This turned out to be painted with the sign ‘Wirksworth and Derby’, suggesting this was the coach that travelled between these two towns. As an enthusiastic collector of Derbyshire images this was an unexpected bonus. The un-named house was then quickly identified as Lea Hurst, Florence Nightingale’s home a few miles from Wirksworth and, subject to further research, the two occupationals look likely to be in Wirksworth as well.So hiding away in an uninspiring bundle were four outstanding photographs from about 1857. How wonderful that they had survived all this time and have ended up, by great good fortune, with someone for whom early Derbyshire stereoviews are a particular interest! I’ve added scans of the four photographs to the ‘Photos’ section of this site.
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Darwin's Camera (Phillip Prodger; ISBN-10: 0195150317) tells the extraordinary story of how Charles Darwin changed the way pictures are seen and made.In his illustrated masterpiece, Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1871), Darwin introduced the idea of using photographs to illustrate a scientific theory--his was the first photographically illustrated science book ever published. Using photographs to depict fleeting expressions of emotion--laughter, crying, anger, and so on--as they flit across a person's face, he managed to produce dramatic images at a time when photography was famously slow and awkward. The book describes how Darwin struggled to get the pictures he needed, scouring the galleries, bookshops, and photographic studios of London, looking for pictures to satisfy his demand for expressive imagery. He finally settled on one the giants of photographic history, the eccentric art photographer Oscar Rejlander, to make his pictures. It was a peculiar choice. Darwin was known for his meticulous science, while Rejlander was notorious for altering and manipulating photographs. Their remarkable collaboration is one of the astonishing revelations in Darwin's Camera .Darwin never studied art formally, but he was always interested in art and often drew on art knowledge as his work unfolded. He mingled with the artists on the voyage of HMS Beagle , he visited art museums to examine figures and animals in paintings, associated with artists, and read art history books. He befriended the celebrated animal painters Joseph Wolf and Briton Riviere, and accepted the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner as a trusted guide. He corresponded with legendary photographers Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, and G.-B. Duchenne de Boulogne, as well as many lesser lights. Darwin's Camera provides the first examination ever of these relationships and their effect on Darwin's work, and how Darwin, in turn, shaped the history of art.Features:* Unique approach to Darwin's work that examines one of the first photographically illustrated science books* Reveals previously unknown information about Darwin's interest in photography and art* Describes the rise of photographic objectivity--how photography became accepted as proof in scientific debate* Features reproductions of many photographs owned by Darwin and never before seen by the public

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Stephen Fry by Camille Silvy

We visited the exhibition ‘Comedians: From The 1940s To Now’ currently running in Sheffield. The show is presented jointly with the National Portrait Gallery and photographers include Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier Bresson, Angus McBean, Patrick Lichfield, Bill Brandt, Cecil Beaton and Trevor Leighton.There was however an unexpected surprise when looking at the colour portrait of Stephen Fry. This carries the bizarre attribution ‘Stephen Fry, photographer Camille Silvy, format: albumen photograph, carte de visite.’At first I wondered if this was a partially re-used label that had led to a muddle but then decided it was a very subtle joke. But by whom? By Fry himself or by the curators?The exhibition is at the Graves Gallery and runs until 20 March 2010. Entry is free and next door is the traveling Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition that runs to 27 March 2010 and is also free.
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12200889697?profile=originalFor the past year, CADHAS (Campden and District Historical & Archaeological Society) has been running an Awards for All project about Jesse Taylor, our local photographer 100 years ago, culminating in an Exhibition of his work next weekend 23/24 January. We had a ‘eureka moment’ in our research when we found a picture of the town’s Floral Parade in 1896 by Henry Taunt, well-known Oxford photographer, with another photographer in the corner of the frame, and matched it with one from our Jesse Taylor collection, proving a link between the two men. Chipping Campden, a small market town in the Cotswolds, has a long and well-documented history but now the recent past is coming to life through these photographs, from glass plates deposited with Gloucestershire Archives. The project has involved volunteers working with the Archives staff to conserve the plates and digitise the images. Local schools and groups of older people have been looking at the images and comparing life then and now. Instead of the pigs and sheep wandering down the High Street we have cars searching for parking spaces! The Exhibition ‘Campden Then and Now’ is in the Town Hall on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 January, 10 am – 4pm. On the Saturday at 3.15 pm there will be a talk by Graham Diprose, about the work of these early photographers. Graham Diprose is joint curator of the current Henry Taunt exhibition at Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock ‘…in the footsteps of Henry Taunt’, showing pictures of the River Thames in Victorian and modern times. Judith Ellis
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The National Media Museum presents up to six temporary exhibitions every year. We attract over 700,000 visitors and have ambitious plans to raise our profile further. We have developed a national touring and partnerships strategy that will take our exhibitions to galleries, museums and arts centres across the UK. Your experience of managing touring exhibitions, brokering relationships and working collaboratively with external partners will be essential to the successful delivery of this strategy. You will take a lead role in managing the touring budget and working with touring venues to oversee the delivery of exhibitions. This is a fantastic opportunity to promote our temporary exhibitions to new audiences and establish an extensive range of partners across the UK. You will also help us continue to deliver a vibrant temporary exhibition programme by leading cross-function teams to develop exhibition and display ideas, present proposals to colleagues and create the necessary feasibility and scoping documents. Experience of managing the production of exhibition projects in a museum or gallery is essential here. Award winning, visionary and truly unique, the National Media Museum embraces photography, film, television, radio and the web. Part of the NMSI family of museums, we aim to engage, inspire and educate through comprehensive collections, innovative education programmes and a powerful yet sensitive approach to contemporary issues. Qualification Level: Suitably qualified and/or equivalent experience Salary: £24,500 to £28,750 depending on experience Contract Type: Fixed term until April 2011 Closing date: 1st February 2010 Interview date: 15th February 2010 Click here for details and to apply.
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Fellowship in the History of Photography

The National Gallery of Canada has put out a call for application for a twelve month fellowship in photographic history. It is open to art historians, curators, critics, independent researchers, conservators, conservation scientists and other professionals in the visual arts, museology and related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, who have a graduate degree or equivalent publication history. It is open to international competition and applications should be postmarked no later than 30 April 2010. Fellowships are tenable only at the National Gallery of Canada. The term of full-time residency must fall within the period 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011. Awards can be up to $5,000 a month, including expenses and stipend, to a maximum of $30,000. Fellowships are not renewable. The Library and Archives provides office space and supplies for the program, with desktop computer workstation running the Windows XP operating system and equipped with Microsoft Word, as well as internal and external telecommunications facilities, and full library support services, including extended hours of access. For general details and how to apply click here: For details of past recipients and their research topics click here:
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Staff at Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery were surprised and delighted last month when two major art galleries from overseas contacted them about borrowing some of the Museum’s works of art for exhibitions in 2010 and 2011.Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery was initially approached by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, who were keen to borrow the photograph ‘The Lady of Shalott’ by Henry Peach Robinson. The photograph is required for an exhibition called ‘The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British photography and painting, 1848-1875’ which will be on show in Washington from October 2010 to January 2011. It will then tour to Paris where it will be on show at the Musee d’Orsay until May 2011.An expert representing the National Gallery of Washington has also been to visit the Museum to see the ‘Lady of Shalott’ first hand, and she declared it to be ‘an exquisite print’.The Lady of Shallott (1861) is one of Henry Peach Robinson’s most beautiful and effective ‘combination prints’ – a photo constructed of several different negatives. The scene, illustrating the poem by Tennyson shows the Lady of Shalott floating down the river to her death. It echoes the painting of Robinson’s contemporaries – the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, not just in its subject matter and romantic tone but also in its obsessive detailing of the natural world.

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This landmark exhibition gives an inside view of how modern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been shaped through the lens of their photographers. From the days when the first Indian-run photographic studios were established in the 19th century, this exhibition tells the story of photography’s development in the subcontinent with over 400 works that have been brought together for the first time. It encompasses social realism and reportage of key political moments in the 1940s, amateur snaps from the 1960s and street photography from the 1970s. Contemporary photographs reveal the reality of everyday life, while the recent digitalisation of image making accelerates its cross-over with fashion and film. The exhibition is arranged over five themes with works selected from the last 150 years. The Portrait shows the evolution of self-representation; The Family explores close bonds and relationships through early hand-painted and contemporary portraits; The Body Politic charts political moments, movements and campaigns; The Performance focuses on the golden age of Bollywood, circus performers and artistic practices that engage with masquerade; while The Street looks at the built environment, social documentary and street photography. Over 70 photographers including Pushpamala N., Rashid Rana, Dayanita Singh, Raghubir Singh, Umrao Singh Sher-Gil, Rashid Talukder, Ayesha Vellani and Munem Wasif are presented in the show, with works drawn from important collections of historic photography, including the influential Alkazi Collection, Delhi and the Drik Archive, Dhaka. They join many previously unseen images from private family archives, galleries, individuals and works by leading contemporary artists. Tickets £8.50/£6.50 concessions / free for under 18s & Sundays 11am–1pm Book Now*: +44 (0)844 412 4309 * Fee £1 per ticket. Free admission for you and a friend with Whitechapel Gallery Membership. Join now: +44 (0)20 7522 7888
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Westminster, with The Henry VII Chapel and Clock Tower of The Houses of Parliament, Stephen Ayling, about 1869Drawing on the V&A's rich holdings of 19th-century photographs, this new display examines the relationship that developed between photography and architectural practice in the 19th century and explores how photography facilitated the re-discovery of an idealised past. The display also addresses the role played by photography in the recording of buildings before demolition and its use as a tool for preserving the national architectural heritage. The display features a range of photographs by leading British, French and Italian photographers, alongside of which is a selection of drawings, sketch books, watercolours and prints. It has been curated by Ashley Givens, Assistant Curator of Photographs and Barbara Lasic, Assistant Curator of Designs. The exhibtion is open from 7 January–16 May 2010 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 in Room128a Architecture. Admission is free.
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NMeM revamps foyer

The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reports that improvements costing nearly £400,000 to Bradford’s National Media Museum’s foyer should be completed next month. The upgrade includes a new electronic information board, a new box office, a shop and a computer games lounge. Colin Philpott, director of the museum, said: “We are creating a more effective flow of people. The first thing the majority of new visitors ask is where the toilets are. The new welcome board, as we’re calling it, will give people more direction where things are. The new games lounge will enable people to play mainly-1980s arcade computer games. We regard electronic games as an area we want to develop.” In addition the museum has revised its Friends of Film programme. The changes will be the first revamp of the foyer area since the expanded museum re-opened in 1999. This blog reported last year that a London design consultancy had been employed to revamp the museum's signage and this is part of that process. A fuller repoprt can be found here:
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Displaying Photos

As the world moves to almost complete digital, sites like this have to begin thinking of ways of how to move exhibits out of event tents and onto the internet. Social networks like this are becoming the contact centers of the world, but the ability to catalog and display images is still lagging, in my opinion. Better meta tagging and recognition software is needed to pull the massive photo libraries together into a usable and user friendly experience. I think we are moving in that direction, but there certainly is a lot of work to be done.
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