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With an estimated quarter of a million negatives, The Spencer Digby – Ronald D. Woolf Collection is a treasure trove of images of faces and moments from Wellington’s past. The collection ranges from the 1930s to the 1980s and includes studio portraits, wedding photographs, and shots from community events like wrestling tournaments and cat shows among many other things.
Magicians Graham Grant and Val; Spencer Digby Studios; 29 Mar 1966; The Spencer Digby – Ronald D. Woolf Collection, Gift of Ronald Woolf, 1975
Photographic negatives are not the easiest objects to access. They have special storage and handling requirements and need to be processed before the images can be appreciated. Depending on what kind of plastic they’re made of, some can also be hazardous and special equipment and processes are needed to work with them safely. The Spencer Digby – Ronald D. Woolf Collection Lottery Project is working to make these images accessible and connect New Zealanders with photographs of their tūpuna.
Chef Graham Kerr ; inscribed ‘Mr Kerr’; Spencer Digby Studios; 20 June 1961; The Spencer Digby – Ronald D. Woolf Collection, Gift of Ronald Woolf, 1975
Join Te Papa Senior Imaging Technician Ish Doney and team as we view an array of interesting photographs, while listening to the history of the studio and photographers, the nature of the collection and background of the project. Enjoy an in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes work that goes into cataloguing, imaging and FTIR-testing the negatives and see if you can spot any familiar faces from Wellington’s past.
We will hear from Senior Imaging Technician Ish Doney, Imaging technician Ashleigh James-McKenna, Humanities Technicians Alex Gordon and Cassandra Bahr, and Conservator of Photography Caroline Garratt.
Enjoy a glass of wine included in your ticket and bring your parking ticket for free parking validation.