Duggan's Pics

From stop-motion animation to a mad scientist, uncover our Collective Licensing Executive's favourites from the archive

1.  What is your role at Bridgeman?

As Bridgeman’s Collective Licensing Executive, most of my time is spent recouping money for Artists, Museums and Private Collections from Secondary licenses raised by various RRO’s (Reproduction Rights Organisations). Think Robin Hood but without the cute outfit and a LOT more spreadsheets.

Whenever I can, I also help out with the transparency and digital archive. For as long as I can remember I’ve been collecting, ordering and documenting various things from cone shells to tropical plants and seeds.  So I actually started archiving before I really knew what an archive was. I love seeing new collections arrive, both for the new content as well as seeing how things have been ordered.

 

2.  What do you love most about the job?

Every day I see a new image that takes me by surprise. It could be because of its beauty, it may make me laugh, challenge me in some way or spark an idea. I’ve got an insatiable appetite when it comes to images so to discover new works, collections and artists on a daily basis, after 15 years of working at Bridgeman Images, is remarkable.

 

3. What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive?

We represent many of the biggest Museums and Galleries in the world, so it’s easy to only associate us with the more famous works. What a lot of people don’t realise, is that we also have an ever growing number of really interesting private collections. The content is often not available anywhere else, so clients have the opportunity to choose something truly unique. We also have a constant flow of photography coming into the archive which I find hugely exciting, so much so that apart from an artwork by the lovely Rachel Pedder-Smith, I’ve decided to focus on some of Bridgeman’s wonderful photographic content.

Duggan Collingwood, Collective Licensing Executive

 

Herbarium Specimen Painting sheet 7, 2006-09, Rachel Pedder-Smith / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

Rachel Pedder-Smith

As hard as it was to pick favourites, The Herbarium Specimen Painting, based on specimens from the Herbarium at Kew Gardens by Rachel Pedder-smith was an easy choice.

At over five meters long and having taken over 760 days to complete, the work is truly awesome. I’ve always found obsession really interesting, so to see this level of detail on such a massive scale and for it to be nature based, ticks all the right boxes. The fact that the plant specimens have also been painted in the order of a contemporary DNA-based classification system, really appeals to the science geek in me.

Eadweard Muybridge

In 1860 Eadweard Muybridge suffered severe head injuries in a violent runaway stagecoach crash, irreparably damaging his Orbitofrontal Cortex. Apart from causing a dramatic shift in his emotional behaviour, (in 1874 Muybridge shot his wife’s lover at point-blank range but was acquitted on grounds of insanity caused by the brain damage), he credited the accident with freeing his creativity from conventional social inhibitions and went on to create amazing work.

This Elephant Walking animation based on plate 733 of Eadweard Muybridge’s animal Locomotion series is a firm favourite of mine. Using multiple cameras to capture motion in stop-motion photographs, Muybridge went on to shoot over 100,000 images of animals and humans in motion.

Animation of 'Elephant walking', plate 733 from 'Animal Locomotion', 1887, by Eadweard Muybridge / Bridgeman Footage

 

Diver jumping from a tower erected for Naghol (land diving) on Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, c.1920 / Private Collection / Prismatic Pictures / Bridgeman Images

 

Land Diving

Having grown up in Vanuatu in the South West Pacific, this photo of Land diving on Pentecost had to feature. The precursor to bungee jumping, men jump off towers up to 30 meters high with two vines wrapped around their ankles to break their fall. The aim is to brush the ground with your shoulders.

According to the Guinness World Records, the g-force experienced by those at their lowest point in the dive is the greatest experienced in the non-industrialized world by humans. Land Diving, or Nanggol was banned in the 19th Century by Christian missionaries but revived in 1980 after Vanuatu gained independence.

 

Frog X Ray

My mum lectured in Biology when I was growing up, I remember being fascinated by all the specimens in jars and various skeletons on display in her lab. So it’s probably no wonder that this x-ray photograph of frogs is another favourite.

Shot by Josef Maria Eder (1855 – 1944), an Austrian chemist who specialized in the chemistry of photography, it really showcases how perfect and delicate nature’s design can be. Given also that it was photographed in 1896, it must have been mind-blowing when it was first published.

 

An early X-ray photo of frogs by Joseph Maria Eder. 1896 (photogravure), Austrian School / Private Collection / Prismatic Pictures / Bridgeman Images

 

Nigella Damascena. 1929 (photogravure), Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) / Private Collection / Prismatic Pictures / Bridgeman Images

 

Karl Blossfeldt

Using a series of home-made cameras Blossfeldt took shots of plant surfaces in unprecedented magnified detail. He believed that 'the plant must be valued as a totally artistic and architectural structure.'

I love how his images draw you in, the repetitive patterns, textures and forms showing just how wonderful nature is. I’ve chosen this image of Nigella Damascena (love-in-a-mist) specifically, as it’s one of my favourite plants.

Nicola Tesla

Nicola Tesla is my not so secret 19th Century mad scientist crush.  Not content with designing the modern Alternating (AC) Current, Tesla spent years inventing and testing his Death Ray. A Teleforce weapon designed to send concentrated beams of particles, of such tremendous energy, that they could bring down a fleet of planes at a distance of 200 miles and cause armies to drop dead in their tracks.

When he wasn’t working on his Death Ray, Tesla was a huge nature lover making time to feed the pigeons every day and even brought injured ones into his hotel room to nurse back to health. Tesla spent over $2,000 on one female pigeon, including building a device that comfortably supported her so her bones could heal, to fix her broken wing and leg.

Portrait of Nikola Tesla holding a light bulb illuminated by the electromagnetic field of a Tesla Coil, 1899 (photo) / Private Collection / Prismatic Pictures / Bridgeman Images

 

 


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