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Photographic Studio

Popular Brownie, Eastman Kodak Company, 1950-59. Museum no. B.12-2004

Popular Brownie, Eastman Kodak Company, 1950-59. Museum no. B.12-2004

The Photographic Studio in the V&A has a long history, as long as the museum itself going back to 1856. Almost uniquely the archive of pictures made by the Studio is continuous from that time until the present day and almost every picture made during that time can still be seen.

The Photographic Studio is a service department within the Collections Services Division in the Museum. Its role is to make images of the museums collection, archives, buildings and activities to support; collections management, conservation and research and public access to the collections. Though for most of its history it has done this as traditional two-dimensional photography it is increasingly using many multi-media techniques such as video and 3D imaging.

The Photographic Studio is managed by James Stevenson, and made up of three teams:

Object Photography

The Object Photography Team undertakes the work of making 2d images of museum object and archives. This is usually for collections management, publications, exhibitions, Futureplan, Picture Library and anything that needs an image of part of the collection. Their work can be seen in the any V&A Publications and on the museum website particularly on Search the Collections.

This team also undertakes work on X-radiography and Ultra-violet reflectance and fluorescence photography for conservation research.

The Object Photography Team is managed by Richard Davis +44(0)20 7942 2722

Multimedia and Social Documentary Photography

The Multimedia and Social Documentary Team undertake two strands of work. Firstly the production of time based media of objects and activities in and around the museum. This includes video production and editing services, Quick Time movies of objects and galleries, work on developing techniques such as 3d image modelling, creation of virtual spaces and any developing new techniques of imaging as they can be applied to cultural heritage.

The social documentary aspect of the team can be summed up as photography of people and spaces in and around the museum. It also includes the recording of theatrical performances for the archives of the Theatre Collection.

The Multimedia and Social Documentary Photography Team is managed by Peter Kelleher +44(0)20 7942 2742

Digital Management

The Digital Management Team works on the post-production of images. This includes scanning, printing, and image manipulation and restoration. Quality control, managing multimedia objects on the V&A’s internal Digital Asset Management system, and image preparation for print and reproduction. Management of interns and contract staff working on digitisation projects is also controlled from here.

The Digital Management Team is managed by Ken Jackson +44(0)20 7942 2724

Main contact number and email

Richard Davis, Acting - Photographic Manager, +44(0)20 7942 2545 email r.davis@vam.ac.uk

The V&A Photographic Studio has been actively engaged in image research in the cultural heritage sector as a participant in many European and UK funded projects. Participation in these projects has helped the Photographic Studio to stay active in new and developing techniques useful to cultural heritage.

UK Funded projects:
  • FABRIC (Technology Strategy Board) (link)
  • East London Theatres (JISC) (link)
  • ICON (Technology Strategy Board) (link)

EU funded projects:

The Photographic Studio also undertakes development work internally on:

  • Polynomial Texture Mapping
  • 3D object modeling
  • Digital x-ray

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