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David Hurn and fellow Magnum photographers visit our collections centre

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Guest post written by Magnum Photographer David Hurn.

I was recently in Bradford for the opening of the Open for Business exhibition and I was offered a guided tour around the National Media Museum collections.

David Hurn and Jonas Bendiksen in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

David Hurn and Jonas Bendiksen in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

Perhaps for me most interesting was the Daily Herald Archive – the Daily Herald was a British daily newspaper, published in London from 1912 to 1964.

The archive is very important because it’s one of – maybe the only – complete newspaper archive surviving (credit to – former National Media Museum curator – Colin Ford, one of the best lateral thinking curators).

Mark Power in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

Mark Power in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

It has added importance because it had a staff of wonderful photographers. Newspaper photographers do not normally work on in-depth stories but rather deal with many news breaks a day, so archives are a true visual history.

A brief perusal of the collection showed really interesting pictures taken by James Jarché, the Saidman brothers, George Roper, Bishop Marshall, Leslie Cardew, Edward Malindine, Terry Fincher among others, each of whom would merit detailed research.

Peter Marlow and David Hurn in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

Peter Marlow and David Hurn in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

Luckily the collection has been kept as it was originally housed, in cabinets and files in a hierarchical system. For people – each person in a separate file; when the file gets large it then merits a box of its own; when they die then a new box, and each level graduates to a new shelf. I pray that they don’t ever break it up for ‘archival reasons’.

In a separate location I was able to touch (with gloves on) Fox Talbot’s original cameras – some surprisingly crudely made – is it imagination but does some sense of aura filter through?

Jonas Bendiksen, Stuart Franklin, Peter Marlow and Fiona Rogers (Magnum) in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

Jonas Bendiksen, Stuart Franklin, Peter Marlow and Fiona Rogers (Magnum) in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

I enjoyed realising the size of the cameras that Fenton, Bedford, Frith would have used – please don’t complain that your camera is too heavy.

Noone interested in photography should miss visiting, it’s a rewarding day out. By the way, very close by is the Impressions Gallery – once of York – also very worthwhile visiting.

Fiona Rogers (Magnum), Jonas Bendiksen, David Hurn (seated), Peter Marlow and Mark Power in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

Fiona Rogers (Magnum), Jonas Bendiksen, David Hurn (seated), Peter Marlow and Mark Power in Insight: Collections and Research Centre © Murray Ballard

Find out how you can book a visit to our collections and research centre to see some of the most important objects from the history of the still and moving image.

Written by Guest Authors

  1. edgarbrionesfotografia

    Great photographers all of them

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