Blogging a building (15)

Artists for Gloucestershire Archives

This week we’ve been celebrating the national #ExploreArchives campaign, so it seemed appropriate to demonstrate just how many ways there are of exploring the collections.

If you have visited the Archives’ garden lately you will have noticed that there is a very large oak tree trunk lying on the ground. This is the raw material for our new vertical sculpture to be carved by Cheltenham based sculptor Natasha Houseago. The tree trunk is two and a half metres long and has a diameter of about half a metre. Or if you still hanker for the olden days, 15 feet long and about 20 inches across.

Continue reading

Gloucestershire’s archives revealed (4)

Flash bang wallop – I’ve just broken my back.

Photography these days has become easy. With the advanced technology available to anyone who can afford it, pointing and pressing a shutter normally results in a perfect picture. Thanks to many intelligent auto settings on the camera doing all the work, even I can get a semi-decent shot of my chosen subject.

And when one of my pictures does accidentally come out frustratingly blurred, I’ll pretend that I meant it and enter it into the Turner Prize. So far, I’ve been beaten to the award by a dead cow, a used bed and an empty room, so I need to concentrate on worsening my work considerably before I’m successful.

But back in the Victorian era, photographers couldn’t just go around taking happy snaps wherever and whenever they liked. The time it took to expose the photographic plate and then develop it certainly wasn’t instant, as it is today. Photographers were skilled technicians and chemists who didn’t waste their precious negatives on images of twerking chimney sweeps or the workhouse Master’s avocado lunch. Continue reading