Travelling back to the time before the pharaohs: the Predynastic Period

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So, it’s a new year and I have a new project to get working on at the Garstang (hooray!). The museum’s next exhibition is planned for 2019 and shifts right back to the Predynastic Period; the time before the pharaohs. I don’t yet know what the detailed theme of the exhibition will be, though it is early days. What I do know, however, is that there’s a lot for me to be photographing, so my work’s already begun in earnest.

A year in photos: my top twelve photos of 2017

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This past year has been an amazing year for me and my photography. From humble beginnings, taking a few photos for fun at the Garstang Museum, I’ve ended up photographing lots of beautiful ancient Egyptian artefacts, providing photography for the Book of the Dead exhibition and having my images up on the wall of the Tate Liverpool.

As I think back over the last year, and look forward to what 2018 has to bring for me, I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos and moments with you from the past twelve months. So, here’s my year in photos, month by month, for 2017.

The Book of the Dead as a Tate Exchange Workshop

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While the Book of the Dead exhibition was on, the Garstang put in a successful bid for a week-long workshop at the Tate Liverpool. The workshop was based on the Book of the Dead exhibition, but was art-focused, without the artefacts. It featured my photography, prominently.

Update from the Garstang: two 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.

Update from the Garstang: tiny amulets and a visit from Bob Brier

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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.

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.

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).

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.

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