Archive and Special Collections | Blog

Residue

In recent weeks I have had several enquiries about images we hold in our archive collections.

 The requests are invariably for photographs taken at various times and locations throughout the timeline of the University and its predecessors. The initial attraction and impact of the historical photographic image is the notion of being able to ‘transport’ the viewer to a past time and this is almost always followed by making some comparison to the present.  But as Eric Ketelaar has written ‘A photograph is not just a recording: it constitutes the event.’ So the question I am asking myself is; is the photograph no longer just a cipher but is the very thing that it set out to record. It is here in the present, the past no longer exists; this image survives only in the residue of emulsions and light sensitive paper or more commonly now code and pixels.

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Dr Keith Rowntree

Keith Rowntree maintains the University's Archive and Special Collections which are currently held at the University’s Library, situated on our Headingley Campus. We collect, describe and preserve material for future generations while seeking to promote knowledge of, and access to this rich heritage for educational, professional and research purposes.

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