We’ve been creating something a bit different for the Commons this month. Emma, the talent behind all our videos on YouTube and Vimeo, has been working with Colin Harding, our Curator of Photography and Photographic Technology (and go-to photography guy—you might have seen him on TV) on a new series of very short films about our collection.
We’re calling them ‘short bites’, and the aim of the game is to reveal the story behind a series of objects or photographs, and their creator in just 90 seconds.
Our very first short bite is Francis Bedford in 90 seconds which you can watch on YouTube, Vimeo or Flickr. And the reason we’re doing this? Well, it’s all about the Commons. Flickr allows you to upload videos up to 90 seconds in length, so we decided to take the challenge and produce a short film for each set of photographs we add to the Commons. Follow our Francis Bedford additions in the Commons on Flickr.
Colin Harding spotted this photograph of Meryvin O’Gorman:
I have chosen this competent but uninspiring portrait because of who the sitter is. Born in Ireland, Mervyn O’Gorman (or ‘O.G.’ as he was affectionately known) is best known as one of the greatest British aeronautical engineers. During the First World War he was head of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. He was also a motoring pioneer, writing O’Gorman’s Motoring Pocket Book in 1904, and was actively involved in the Royal Automobile Club, becoming its vice-president. He also later played a key role in the introduction of the Highway Code.
O’Gorman was an artist as well as an engineer, concentrating on etching and lacquer-work. He was also a talented photographer. A charming and humorous man with enormous physical and mental energy, he seems to have been almost universally liked and admired. His obituary in The Times summed him up as ‘A man of agile mind and Hibernian eloquence’.
O’Gorman was an early exponent of colour photography, using the Autochrome process. I included some of his Autochromes in an exhibition I curated in 2007 which celebrated the centenary of the Autochrome process. O’Gorman’s portrait of a girl named Christina, photographed on the beach at Lulworth Cove, Dorset in 1913 and now part of the Royal Photographic Society Collection, is simply stunning.
Greg Hobson chose this photograph from the National Library of Ireland.
Many years ago we received a detailed letter from a man explaining that the inclusion of a dog (he sent several examples of landscapes featuring his own dog, ‘Rembrandt’) would guarantee that a photograph is interesting. I think he may have been right.
Rebecca Smith selected this photograph of a German submarine.
Because I’m always attracted by repeated patterns, and I like the rather bizarre angles—it’s almost like an Escher drawing. And, more importantly, how did a rookie submariner ever learn which wheels need turning?
Hope you enjoy this month’s selection.