Under the Dark Cloth: Working with Photography Studio Archives

Under the Dark Cloth: Working with Photography Studio Archives is an International one-day symposium at QUAD, Derby, presented to coincide with the exhibition People, Places, and Things: the W. W. Winter’s Archive, on show at Derby Museum during FORMAT17.

Commercial photography studios were once common sights on almost every high street.  Each has its own distinct history and place within the lives of the communities they documented and served.  Many of these studios are now closed, their rich archives lost or destroyed, and the history of these important social, commercial and cultural institutions lost forever.

This event welcomes a range of speakers who have saved, preserved, researched and presented exhibitions about studio archives.  Their papers explore a diverse range of subjects revealing how the photographic studio can contribute to migrant identity formation; how an Italian art dealer employed photography for commercial purposes;  the issues for studio photography when it moves across from a private space into the public domain of the archive and the gallery; a remarkable project to salvage and restore the extraordinary studio of the Portuguese photographer Carlos Relvas and the work undertaken to preserve the archives of the two oldest working studios in the UK. The papers will be complimented by a short series of films about studio archive projects.

Presented with support from The Photographic Collections Network, the event aims to provide a platform to share skills, knowledge, and experience among those working in this field, and to tell some of the stories about the studios, the photographers, their subjects and their archives.

The event is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC), the Royal Photographic Society, The Photographic Collections Network, QUAD, FORMAT Festival, Derby Museums, Arts Council England, W. W. Winter and The Art Fund.