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From the Selma to Montgomery March to Courageous Cat: explore our Picture Researcher's favourites from the archive
1. What is your role at Bridgeman?
I research topics and request images from our wide variety of suppliers whether it's a specific image a client wants or if they want to see a wide variety of imagery to make a selection from. I'm based in New York and work primarily with the New York and London offices but also support our European branches as needed.
2. What do you love most about the job?
I love the requests that require in-depth research since they mean I typically learn about a topic or moment in history I never knew about before. These requests are engrossing from a research perspective and I enjoy being able to surprise the client with the material they may not have expected.
3. What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive?
I have the unique position of having been a Bridgeman client before and I wasn't aware of how much research power this team has in finding images not live on the website. It's amazing the variety of suppliers Bridgeman has and how ready everyone involved is to dig in and find what a client is looking for. I know I've enjoyed the number of times I've fallen down the rabbit hole of research to locate what the client needs.
Elizabeth's favourite pics are:
Halt the epidemic! Stop spitting- everybody
1) I've long been fascinated with visuals from periods of unrest and how an artist must distil down a sometimes complex message to an image that is quickly understood. With Covid-19 being front and centre in everyone's mind, we've frequently had to research images to pair with articles on the topic. This is one of my favourites as I love the depiction of "epidemic" and the ironic nonchalance in the man's face.
The Courageous Cat
2) I found this one when searching for images of pieces by Roger Vivier but I love the odd-ball results that sometimes come up in a search. This result is from a children's book titled The Courageous Cat. "Wanda Viviers was playing happily on the lawn at her home in Johannesburg when a Ringhalls snake came slithering towards her. Wanda's pet Siamese cat, Wong, hurled itself at the snake and killed it."
Selma to Montgomery March
3) With many clients, particularly those in Education, looking to expand their materials on the Civil Rights Movement, I've had the chance to research imagery on this topic regularly. This is one of my favourite photos I've come across that I hadn't seen before. While most are generally from a photo-journalist perspective, this photographer frames a moment from a Selma-to-Montgomery march as one from a holy crusade.
Allegory of Faith
4) There are eight Vermeers in New York City but this is the only non-genre work. While he's best known for naturalistic scenes from daily Dutch life, much of the iconography in The Allegory of Faith is literally straight out of a book - Cesare Ripa's Iconologia. While it's overall one of Vermeer's weaker works, I find the fight to balance naturalism and symbolism to be a fascinating reflection of the evolving purpose of art for its time.
The Salute, Venice, 1996
5) This work by British contemporary artist William Wilkins was a surprise to find as he is actually a family friend and I wasn't aware he is represented by Bridgeman! I grew up with two drawings similar to this one in my family's living room.