The Natural Collection

There are three aspects to the natural collection:

  • Sourcing and collecting the photobooks and blogging them. This includes searching for photobooks that we think fits the brief and adds something extra to the collection. Any new books will be added to the blog, which can be found here: This isn’t something that we have to do so much now, the collection is already quite big and now word has got out to other photographer’s books are being sent to us without us having to request them. The blog is a catalogue and a place where the whole collection can be found with a short description about each book. Also on the blog is information about the natural collection and what is happening with it. For example if the collection goes anywhere, Morocco being somewhere it has recently been, there will be a write up on this. Any exhibitions or events, such as photobook day will also be posted on here.

See a few examples of the kind of images that you will find on the blog below. These need to be simple yet effective. The images are taken with something natural behind them, for example grass or leaves. This links back to the collection and gives a more aesthetically pleasing image to something that was shot in the studio. This also gives the collection something a little different and makes it stand out from other collections.

  • Exhibition of the natural collection. Now the collection has plenty of books we are very interested in getting people to see them. An exhibition is just one way of doing this. Within this I think it is important to find a theme and stick with that rather than just displaying the whole collection. Although it is an option to display the whole collection I think that this is a little bit too broad due to the fact that the books are only loosely connected by the theme of nature and the tension and harmony with our relationship to this. So unless this is what is requested I think it is best to steer clear of exhibiting the whole exhibition. I helped organise an exhibition of the natural collection at the library at university. We decided to narrow the collection down and pick a specific theme. For this we wanted to think outside of the box and not pick something obvious, in the end we decided to concentrate more on the object itself, the photobook. When looking through the books we decided that books with a twist, something that stood out would make the exhibition. We chose 20 books in total to be included. Books that were exhibited included: Bird Watching- Paula McCartney, Gardening at Night- Cig Harvey and Tree Houses- Helena Rovira. I have really enjoyed this aspect of the Natural Collection and confirmed my interest in curating. See a few images from the exhibition below.
  • Sending the books to groups. This allows more people see the collection and also may allow the collection to grow. This could be in the form of suggestions of books that may fit into the theme or submissions from the people that have seen them. This could be from an existing project that they have or a response to something in the collection. I have organised for the books to be sent to my old school, Flegg High School. This will be done at some point after Easter; the organisation of the exact date is still in progress. I have suggested a few tasks that the class could complete for example, going out and photographing their own images in response to the theme within the collection. These could either be sent back individually or the class could make a book together. Another suggestion is that they could take one of the books and reorder the images into something that they see suitable, along with this would be a short written passage describing their decisions behind this. Whatever the class decide to do with the collection will be published on our blog, this provides both the school and the collection of further publicity. At the beginning of the process I will go and introduce the project and answer any questions that they may have. This will give me experience in talking in public and more so when I don’t know the people present, which is something that I am not used to.

I have really enjoyed working with the Natural Collection and from this experience I have been able to confirm what I am interested in and what sort of area of work that I want to go into. I have experienced all of the aspects of the collection and really have got a good insight into how this sort of thing works and is run. By gaining experience in all of these areas I am able to say that I have worked at the head of a project and overseen everything that it is part of.

Meeting notes: 

  • Blogging any new books that are sent to the collection, this is a simple task but a good way to catalogue the books. This is for us and the audience
  • Blogging anything that happens with the books- where they are send and anything that the collection is a part of
  • Organising for something to happen with the books, this could be anything- a zine, an exhibition, a pop-up exhibition, a physical catalogue. It is down to use to decide what we want to do
  • The exhibition: the space that we have to work with, the different types of stands that we could use, decision of which theme to chose and looking through all the the collection to see which books fit this, setting up the exhibition.