Royal Photographic Society visit

On Tuesday we hosted a visit from members of the Royal Photographic Society. I laid out a display of some of the varied resources for photographic history held in Special Collections, and Dr Kelley Wilder from the Photographic History Research Centre spoke about how her students use and benefit from the collection.

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Special Collections notably holds the Kodak Collection, a set of books and journals donated by the Kodak Research and Development facility before it closed. This collection contains long runs of American, English, French and German journals which are available for researchers to browse on open shelves. Recently we have acquired the library of the Photographers’ Gallery and a collection of auction catalogues from the Wilson Centre for Photography. These three collections together form a wide-ranging resource for students of the history of photography as well as being of interest for other subject areas including fashion, design and history.

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Also on display was photographic material from DMU’s archive holdings. This includes a varied slide collection as well as images collected in the course of teaching and as part of the life of the university. Most popular were the ‘slipping slides’, hand coloured slides with a moveable tab which makes the image appear animated – the belly of a man drinking expands as he gulps, for example.

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The visitors were also interested in the Kodak Ephemera Collection, a set of marketing and promotional material from the company. Items include badges, mugs, beach balls, scarves and cool-bags, all branded with the Kodak logo. Indeed one of the audience later offered me an addition to the collection – a bright yellow Kodak suitcase!

The event was much enjoyed by the Society members, many of whom plan to visit and use the resources in Special Collections for their own research.

Event photographs courtesy of Donald Stewart.

About Katharine Short

When I was 13 every careers questionnaire I did at school suggested I become an archivist. In rebellion I studied History of Art at Cambridge and the Courtauld Institute before giving in to the inevitable and undertaking a qualification in Archives Administration at Aberystwyth University. I worked at King’s College London Archives and the London Metropolitan Archives before becoming the Archivist here at DMU in January 2013. My role is hugely varied: answering enquiries and assisting researchers, sorting, cataloguing, cleaning and packaging archival material, managing our environmentally controlled storage areas, giving seminars, talks and tours, researching aspects of University history, liaising with potential donors and advocating for the importance of archives within the organisation. I am one of those incredibly fortunate people who can say ‘I love my job’ and really mean it.
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