AberForward: Emily’s Summary

charlotte-week-2-part-2-emily-and-object-portraitureI can’t believe it! It’s the end of my time in Aberystwyth already!

It’s been a busy few weeks, mostly scanning the Erich Retzlaff negatives in the collection. This has been a much longer process than we first anticipated, with some technical issues; it has only really been possible to scan a single image at a time. Each image takes around four minutes, and in a collection of over six hundred images, it’s a very slow process. When we started the project, we were handed three large files to scan. Due to the lengthy nature of the process, we have only been able to complete just two. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to work with any of Retzlaff’s portraiture, the work he was most famous for, instead we have been scanning in landscapes from Germany and Rome. It has been very interesting to see how the artist has framed his shots, many images look a bit like tourist snaps, where others show more of an exploration of his surroundings, studying shadows and light.

When I have not been scanning negatives, we have been in the Ceramics Gallery, in the Art Centre, preparing for the upcoming Micki Schloessingk exhibition. It was interesting to see how much preparation and care goes into these exhibitions. From cleaning the gallery, to unpacking and labelling each piece properly, creating an exhibition is a long process that takes a lot of hard work, something that visitors to the galleries often don’t realise and take for granted.

We have also been working hard, trying to ready the School for an upcoming Health and Safety Audit. This has mainly involved a tonne of paperwork, filling in COSHH forms for the chemicals in the darkrooms, another long and repetitive process. It was scary reading through these forms and seeing just how dangerous some of these chemicals can be if used incorrectly.

Without a doubt, the highlight of my time here, has been photographing items in the collection for Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities. There are so many fascinating artefacts hidden away in nooks and crannies in various cabinets throughout the school, it was wonderful to get to handle them and have a closer look.

Now my time here is over, I will be heading back home to Cheshire, to work more on my photography, and to try and find another curatorial position elsewhere.

I’d like to end this post by saying a huge thank you to the Aberystwyth School of Art for such an amazing and eye-opening opportunity. I will miss working in such a wonderful place, but it’s onwards and upwards from here!

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