Recently we asked our museum’s professional photographer to take some images of our objects. Photographs of museum objects tend to look very similar, with the intention of recording an object at its best without any distortions or areas in shade. The resulting images tend to be very serious in appearance and a little uninspiring. These photographs are a reflection of how museums categorise objects, easily becoming bogged down in the serious business of classifying objects according to their material, shape, age, or place of manufacture. We wanted some photographs to be of this typical museumy nature and we now have some very beautiful photos such as this group of Greek oil lamps and oil filler.
Changing the topic
But in some museums there has been a change in ideas about how we interpret and display objects. Here at RAMM we emphasise the stories that objects can tell, and the conversations they can inspire. We therefore wanted these photographs to reveal this conversational side to the objects – we wanted photos that were a bit quirky and unusual. I think the results are conversation starters – I want to know what the big bull is saying to the little bull?
Why is the chariot racing away from the soldiers on horseback?
Objects can tell us so much about the past, but they can also spark ideas that lead to new ways of thinking about that past, and new ways of engaging with these objects.