Around six months ago I began working at The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill in London. After 5 years at the Science Museum in a similar role I felt I needed a change of environment and collections as well as a more varied role. At the Science Museum I was one of a team of 5 photographers, at the Horniman I am the only one. As a result of being the only photographer my role is much more varied. The majority of my time is still dedicated to object photography; photographing the collection for loans, publication, displays and collections online. As well as this I am able to photograph events, gallery installs and the building and gardens. I also have the opportunity to photograph members of staff. It soon became clear that people were far happier to be photographed in their environment than against a white backdrop. And so my work began.....
We each have a desk in the museum but as anyone who works in museums will know, a vast amount of our time is spent on our feet, elsewhere. It is this that I wanted to capture in these pictures. I first asked if my sitters had a favourite object, job, skill or interest in the collection. From this initial question I could then work with each person to tell their story.
Each portrait took about 30 minutes to acheive. 10 minutes to set up my camera and lighting, 10 minutes with the sitter and then 10 minutes to break down.
I am working on a project to expand the scope of these portraits to tell more in depth stories of the people behind the scenes in the museum, their roles and what their jobs entail. Hopefully, with Museum backing these will be online in the near future.