As part of my work experience deliverable I chose to take part in a day at the south west image bank in Plymouth. Upon my arrival I was introduced to the office and introduced to the existing staff, all of who were volunteers as they do not offer paid work.
My first task set to me was cataloguing, which consisted of me going through a film archive from Plymouth Herald newspaper in April 2002, and writing the correct information from the negatives onto the computer database, making it easier to find electronically in the future without searching through all of the archives manually. Although this was a long and at times tedious task, it was interesting to look at the kind of things that were recorded only 14 years ago and how these were considered suitable for publishing. The archive contained many different genres from documentary, fashion, all the way to just family photos, showing the different ways of working by different photographers. This was inspiring to me to look at how photography can still be just as important, if not more many years down the line and how photographs are stored as memories waiting for someone to recover. It was intriguing looking at the negatives, wondering who the individuals were and if they knew that these images were still seen now, showing how moments captured can last forever.
My second task was to actually go through negatives and scan them into the database to the right information. At times this task proved tricky, as there would be several negatives from different stories in one sleeve, meaning I would have to use a light box, the information on the sleeve and the database to try and figure out which images belonged to which story. I was already familiar with the scanner and the scanning programme that I had to use. It was interesting to see how different, if different at all, the volunteers of south west image bank scanned in the images. They used a dpi of 1200, which although lower than what I would use normally, still gave a clear end result suitable to upload to the database. Some of the stories had several negatives, so there was a lot of pressure on myself to only choose 1 or 2 from each story to upload; giving me the responsibility of choosing which ones I felt suited best. This has helped me however to study images more carefully to choose which images are more worthy of being public and the relevance of an image to the job it is needed for.
When leaving my day at south west image bank I asked if I could return again as I had enjoyed studying the history of Plymouth and looking at the development of photography through various years in the archives. Although some may think the job itself is quite boring, the element of fascination and inspiration from the images keeps the day busy. I learnt different ways of how businesses like these work, using their online data base and how they store the archives. I also fell upon techniques when scanning that I may not have considered before as well as gaining more confidence on choosing the right photo for the circumstance. I am excited to go back again in the future.