Helen's Clip Picks

Bridgeman's Footage Footage Archive Manager reveals her favourite images and clips in the archive


1. What is your role at Bridgeman?
I manage the footage archive here at Bridgeman, which means overseeing existing and incoming footage collections, editing and cataloguing new content coming into the archive, and providing footage research to support Account Managers in our offices around the world.

2. What do you love most about the job?


I feel very lucky to be in a role that encompasses all of my interests: my undergraduate degree is in History and my postgraduate degrees are in Art History and History of Art Photography. I love how archival footage brings history to life and that I am able to sit at my desk and view snapshots of life from a century ago!

My role is always stimulating thanks to the variety of content we have in our ever-expanding archive. With every new clip that I catalogue or research request I carry out, I learn a bit more about history — whether it be details from the Russian Revolution or the bootleggers of the American prohibition.

3. What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive? 
Bridgeman Images built its reputation for our collection of fine art, so I think clients are often surprised by the huge variety we have in the archive — the library encompasses images of cultural objects, contemporary artworks, and photography, as well as an entire footage archive! Our collection of footage is just as diverse as our image library: social history, artist profiles, vintage animation, the earliest moving images, Egyptology, war footage. My top picks merely scrape the surface of our archive!





Helen's favourite images and clips in the archive are...



Scenes from 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' (1920) / Bridgeman Images




As a lover of cinema (and of all things dark and spooky), these scenes from the silent German Expressionist horror film, ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ (1920) are iconic. The film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, is considered a quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema. I love how the structures and landscapes lean and twist in unusual angles to add to the viewer’s unease.  

I adore the work of the groundbreaking female sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), and it is wonderful to see her at work in the Cornish sunshine in this clip from the early 1950s — dreamy!



Figures In A Landscape; Barbara Hepworth / Bridgeman Images


Autobahn / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Images


This psychedelic animated short was made by the Halas and Batchelor animation studios in the late 1970s for the German electronic band Kraftwerk. The animator, Roger Mainwood, hadn’t actually heard of the band when he was creating the animation and so constructed his own psychedelic fantasy as opposed to falling into the trap of pandering to the band’s aesthetics. I love that it is over 10 fast-paced minutes of weird and wonderful animation.
I love the story behind this gorgeous 1940s colour footage of the New Zealand landscape. The takahē (or notornis), a New Zealand native bird, was thought to have gone extinct many years before this was filmed. This footage was taken on an expedition to the Murchison Mountains in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, where the species was miraculously found alive and well. I like that the gentleman in the clip is very pleased with himself for managing to catch a takahē, even if that is a slightly dubious conservation method!


Rediscovering the 'extinct' takahē bird in New Zealand's Murchison Mountains, 1948 part 5 / Bridgeman Images




2019 will mark 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and this footage is a reminder that the reunification of East and West Berlin was an emotional time for those separated. I cannot help but be moved by this clip of loved ones being reunited after the fall of the wall and members of the community pitching in to help demolish it entirely.
I am fond of our Atomic Archive collection, as the archive is devoted solely to explosions, which I find fascinating. I chose this clip of the first Soviet H-bomb test because the mushroom cloud produced by this explosion — which detonated with a force equivalent of 400 kilotons of TNT — is staggering. The device was nicknamed Joe and was detonated in 1953 in the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons Semipalatinsk test site, ‘The Polygon’.



First Soviet H-bomb test (named Joe 4 or RDS-6) August 12 1953, USSR. / Bridgeman Images


Find out more

Bridgeman Footage comprises historical and contemporary films from around the world. Search exclusive and unseen clips on Art, Culture and History alongside over one million stills for your complete visual package, or alternatively visit our dedicated Youtube page, or Vimeo page.

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