Update from the Garstang: a Tate Workshop and a new video

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It’s been a busy time of late.

Firstly, I wanted to share some exciting news with you. The Garstang has put in a successful bid for a week-long workshop at the Tate Liverpool (eek!). The workshop is based around the Book of the Dead exhibition, but will be art-focused, without the artefacts. It’ll feature my photography and the art of Leigh Gallagher, a comic-book artist. It’s running from 4–10 December, and I’ll be doing a photography workshop or two for it (details to come). Roland Enmarch will also be doing a couple of talks on the Book of the Dead and Egyptian funerary beliefs, and Leigh, I believe, will be doing some workshops as well.… Read More

Update from the Garstang: Predynastic pots and the Festival of Archaeology

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My last session at the Garstang was another busy one. As well as getting on with more artefact photography, the museum was hosting a talk by Roland Enmarch on the Book of the Dead as part of the UK’s annual Festival of Archaeology.… Read More

Update from the Garstang: tiny amulets and a famous Egyptologist

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Having had a bit of a break from photographing artefacts while the Book of the Dead exhibition was being put together, I started back at the Garstang a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst having a bit of an explore of the storerooms, I happened upon some boxes of amulets; I knew immediately these tiny little objects could be great fun to photograph.… Read More

Photography in museums: a few tips and tricks

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I’ve had a lot of fun over the last few years exploring galleries of Egyptian collections with my camera (as a visitor). A lot of it has been hit-and-miss, to say the least, usually because of glass reflections or low light (or a combination of both). But I’ve learnt (the long, hard way) a few things about photographing artefacts in museum galleries. So, for those of you who’d like to improve your photography skills for museum visits, I’d like to share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years (if your photography’s up to scratch, then here’s a post with some pretty pictures to enjoy).… Read More

Light Night opening of the Book of the Dead exhibition

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After numerous hours in the photographic suite, many more vying with Photoshop, followed by several weeks of nail biting, hoping my photos would make the grade, finally, we got there. The Book of the Dead exhibition opened at the Garstang on 19 May 2017 as part of Liverpool Light Night.… Read More

Repairing papyri in Photoshop

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Repairing papyri that have sustained damage over the millennia using Photoshop is something I want to spend some time doing on this project. Whilst employing a conservationist to take the papyri out of their glass containers and reassemble them is a costly and time-consuming affair, using Photoshop to digitally reassemble pieces is much less so (and more fun for me, too).

The process of repairing papyri
So, what is it I’m doing when I’m repairing papyri? The purpose is to pull together and realign broken sections. The example I’m using here is from a copy of the Amduat from the Garstang Museum. The Amduat was a funerary text whose contents showed the nighttime journey of the sun-god through the underworld. This particular copy belonged to a lady called Tjaty from the 21st Dynasty of ancient Egypt (1077–943 BC).… Read More

At the Garstang: first session photographing the Book of the Dead

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Last week, I had my first proper session in the photographic suite. I spent the day in near darkness, photographing a couple of pages from the Book of the Dead.

But why were you in near darkness?, I hear you cry. Because of my arch-nemesis: reflections.

The papyri are encased in sheets of glass, which were cleaned beautifully by some of the museum interns before I photographed them. However, the now extra-clean glass was was extra shiny, and therefore extra reflective. Although the walls and ceiling in the suite are painted black, even low amounts of light were reflecting off the light fittings in the ceiling back down onto the glass.… Read More

Another Place, Crosby beach

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I live close to Crosby beach in north Liverpool, which has, in recent years, become famous for the Anthony Gormley art installation called Another Place. Also known as ‘the iron men’, the installation consists of one hundred iron statues made from a cast Gormley made of his own body.

Initially intended to be a temporary exhibition, the statues were purchased by Sefton Council and have now been on the beach for over a decade.

To say the iron men are popular with photographers, both amateur and professional, is an understatement. A quick Google image search for ‘iron men Crosby’ brings up lots of photos of the statues, the majority of them being caught on fine, sunny days or silhouetted against a colourful sunset. (Though, to be fair, the winter sunsets at the beach can be just stunning.)

It’s really hard to come up with something that hasn’t been done before.

However, when I woke up to a thick blanket of fog the other weekend, I jumped at the chance to grab my camera and go have my turn at photographing the statues.… Read More

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