After spending over six months working with Jinx in the George Rodger Archive, it feels like I’ve come to the end of this chapter. During this time I successfully conducted interviews with Jinx and documented them using audio recorders; photographed the archive and some of its contents and I pulled parts of an archive together to share a story (or two). After much deliberation, I decided to share George’s work on the Nubas which is work that has notably been in the public eye since its publishing in 1955. I used a range of means to try and retell this story through Jinx and the archive. I have been researching archives extensively for almost a year and photography-narratives for much longer; this project is a culmination of all I have learnt.
The main focus and output of my work is the dissemination of archives using narrative. From the first day of meeting Jinx she used the archive to illustrate stories. This much reminds me of Poliakoff’s Shooting the Past when Marilyn tells Christopher the story of Lilly, a Jewish holocaust survivor. Narratives, I have learnt, can add powerful meaning to a simple image; the idea of contextualising is pertinent. Choosing to create a body of work which tells the story of George’s work through Jinx and her insights, I feel, can add much more interest and value in archives. Jinx can unlock hundreds of stories which have been passed to her from George himself. I feel that I have accomplished this goal to a high level using different mediums to suit different audiences.
Audience has been key to my work. Originally concluding that photography archives should be digitised and open online, I have now taken a more reserved opinion on digitisation for the right purposes. I digitised parts of the archive to the extent that it was a tease because once valuable information is uploaded onto the web it can be manipulated out of context. The archive pieces make sense together, as a physical collection. This decision to monitor the online presence of my work has been praised by Phil Coomes of the BBC: “Of course, she is also aware that some of it is personal and not there for sharing, especially online.”
I produced a high finish photobook for exhibition which was accompanied by archive prints, audio pieces and a print of the archive itself. I do have my reflective comments about the book as the pages are too thick and the font three sizes too large; however, in the same breath, in a gallery space these aspects aren’t that noticeable. I think that this book is good compromise to show work which in my mind does not really belong in a gallery at all. With this in mind, I created an iBook which would be my much preferred medium as it is a contemporary way of disseminating archives which have a voice, much like Jinx’s. The iBook is the same structure as the physical book yes, as I wanted to have a continuity, and I feel it works well; however, I feel that this project has so much more left in it that considering releasing an iBook at this time would be inappropriate, especially with it standing beside such a well informed and planned iBook as ‘Dear Robert’ by Joel Kantor. From creating an iBook, book and website piece, I feel that moving forward, this project is most suited to an iBook so that it can be disseminated digitally, but can remain in context. On reflection, I would like to have had a larger team to help me to keep on top of the online aspect in terms of social media reach. I would also like to have had a much more interactive and professional looking website.