In March 2020 like many others across the world, the Imaging team found ourselves working from home, in new and very strange circumstances. But if you know us, we like to turn anything we can into an opportunity. So whilst being busy developing our formal Imaging skills (more posts to come on that later), the team have also taken the opportunity to take an ‘Isolated View’ of the collections.
All of the Imaging team are, or have been, creative practitioners at work inside, and outside, the Library. Each member of the team has reinterpreted the collections in a creative way of their choice. The results are a real treat, and whilst we don’t present contextual knowledge of the collections, you will be seeing the collections like never before. For now, I’m going to introduce each member of the team and tell you a little more about them.
Our longest serving member of staff Jamie Robinson is also a Video Artist, originally trained as a photographer Jamie started ‘messing about’ with old video cameras in around 2013 and now has an INCREDIBLE portfolio of experimental streaming, filming, video production, workshops and installations, take a look here impatv.com. For his interpretation of the collections Jamie has taken pages from some of his favourite manuscripts from our new Digital Collections and given them the IMPATV treatment. Highly meditative, highly therapeutic, take some time to spend with them when we release them.
Tony Richards, a prolific blogger and expert in Historic Photographic Processes (although he’ll be very cross with me for saying expert, but there is no denying it, he is) didn’t apply his knowledge of Historic Photographic practice to the collections, but went to the other end of the spectrum and experimented with creative outputs using software that we use for Advanced Imaging techniques such as Multispectral Imaging. His results are so clever, and a nod to iconic ‘Manchester’ imagery… watch this space.
Our project photographers Jo Castle and Lisa Risbec have taken inspiration from the projects that they are working on. Jo has just completed the digitisaton of the Heinrich Simon Papers held at the Rylands and has started to compile a Sigillography, a study of wax seals found within the papers. And Lisa Risbec, who has been working on the Unlocking the Mary Hamilton papers project, and is also a visual artist, has been inspired to create new artworks using elements of the visual aspects of the material she has been photographing.
Even our Imaging Assistant, Angie McCarthy, who keeps our Imaging Service in excellent working order, is also a practising artist in her own time. Angie has taken inspiration from Dom Sylvester Houedard to create some fantastic new work in response to his style of Concrete Poetry.
I’ve been working on my own contribution too, I am a practising photographer outside of the Library. I usually create portraits of people, and have managed to find a way to do that even in lockdown. But I really enjoyed being able to spend some time actually looking at the digital collections. I have been thinking about how to visually interpret isolation, and have used my favourite digital collection (no prizes for guessing which one that’s going to be) as source material – the Photography Collection.
We’ll be releasing our work as a series of posts tagged ‘Isolated View’. We’d love to hear what you think, and if it inspires you to interpret the collections in new ways, we’d love to see what you create. You can comment on the posts here, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via the usual social media channels @thejohnrylands
Where possible images in our Digital Collections are available to download and reuse for non-commercial purposes. Just click download and get creative!