Unseen photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron on digital display in 2014
We’ll be making hundreds of images from the world’s largest public collection of Cameron portraits available online as part of a year-long digitisation project.
We look after some of the most significant and important objects relating to the science, technology and art of photography, film and television anywhere in the world. Our challenge is to make as much of this rich content available as we can.
One way of doing that is to display the objects in our permanent galleries and exhibition spaces; but with over 3.5 million objects in our archive, and only a limited amount of space in our home here in Bradford, we’re only ever going to be able to share a tiny fraction of our collection in this way.
So, we’ve started a project to digitise works from our key collections and make them available on our website, so you can browse some of our most important holdings, many for the first time.
To begin with, here’s a small selection of photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron, widely regarded as the first female art photographer, chosen from the Royal Photographic Society Collection. This is just to whet your appetite.
We have the world’s largest public collection of portrait photographs by Cameron, and we’ll be making much more of her work available early in the new year; over 700 items—that’s about ten times more than is currently available on our website.
However, this requires a lot of preparation work. Making a selection from one of the best collections of photography in the world isn’t easy to do, and it takes time.
First, our curatorial team picked a range of material showcasing some of the most interesting and important photographs we have. Then, we worked with a specialist company, UK Archiving, to produce digitised images.
A team of staff and volunteers is now in the process of listing and cataloguing these images so that we can put them online and share them with the world.
As well as the Camerons we’re aiming to make material by other influential photographic figures from within our collection—such as William Henry Fox Talbot and the first President of the Royal Photographic Society, Roger Fenton—available through 2014 and beyond.
Some of this material has never been seen outside our archive. Digitisation is a way of making our collections accessible and visible—putting these world-class collections on the web is a hugely important undertaking for the museum.