The development of Archisle: The Jersey Contemporary Photography programme, a project hosted by the Société Jersiaise Photographic Archive, has made significant progress in recent months. The project aims to strengthen connections between the archive and the contemporary through an ongoing programme of exhibitions, educational initiatives and commissions. Our summer school of photography workshops, co-delivered by the Photographic Archivist and Mark Le Ruez, multi-media artist, assembled groups of photographers to engage in an exploratory historical and critical debate around photography and notions of ‘islandness’, the core theme of the brief for Archisle #1, the 2011
open exhibition. There are a number of technical ‘how to’ photography courses available in Jersey but the aesthetic critique of the medium facilitated through these workshops covered important new ground. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors: Le Masurier and Baccata Trustees Limited for making the events possible. The submission deadline for the 2011 open call passed on 30 September. We received a strong submission from both Jersey and international photographers and look forward to the selection process which will be conducted by our 2011 panel: Gareth Syvret and Mark Le Ruez, joined by Glyn Burton, Lecturer in Art, Highlands College; Brian McCarthy, Managing Director, Le Masurier; and Nick Falla, Director, Baccata Trustees Limited. The Archisle #1 exhibition will open at the Members’ Room, 7 Pier Road on the evening of 16 December 2011 at 6pm, coinciding with the Société Jersiaise Annual Christmas Gathering. We look forward to what promises to be an excellent exhibition and to announcing upcoming projects as part of Archisle #2 in 2012. The Photographic Archive has benefited from a number of fascinating donations recently. Of particular note is a circa 1850 daguerreoptype: a photographic copy of a painted portrait of Reverend James Hemery (1814-
1849), Dean of Jersey (1844-1849). This is a welcome deposit, both as an excellent addition to our modest collection of daguerreotypes, and as the only portrait of James Hemery in a Jersey Collection. The portrait was kindly donated by Mrs Rowan Shann of Queensland, Australia, Hemery’s greatgreat
niece. Another fascinating donation is a collection of photograph albums, prints, lantern slides and early colour positives relating to the Cutbush family. William Cutbush (d.1854) and his sons and grandsons were highly successful Nurserymen of Highgate, Middlesex. Herbert William Leonard Cutbush (1883-1958?) married Flora Hilda Vardon, a well known Jersey professional singer, at St Brelade’s Church in 1913. The collection (see photograph) includes an album of late nineteenth century portraits of Cutbush family members and two albums documenting extensive landscape gardening work carried out by Leonard Cutbush at Le Ponterrin, St Saviour in the 1930s. Of great historical value are two further photograph albums, of high quality, taken by Leonard Cutbush during the German Occupation of Jersey. The albums are accompanied by a ‘visitor’s form’ completed by Leonard on 14 November 1940 when applying to the Feldkommandant at College House, St Helier, for a permit to photograph. Also included are his typed letter of application, the official letter of consent and the permit itself. In combination with the albums these documents are of great interest. Just one additional occupation photography permit (granted to Emile F Guiton) is present in the Photographic Archive. We
know that islanders were banned from taking photographs during the occupation and cameras were ‘called in’ by the German administration, however, a considerable amount of photographs from this period survive. This collection, kindly donated by Annette Tomkinson, Lionel Cutbush’s grand daughter, provides further insight into the use of photography during the German Occupation, a subject that awaits serious attention.
Gareth Syvret – Photographic Archivist
The Photographic Archive department is busier than ever and the collection has achieved some notable opportunities for audience engagement in recent months. As part of an initiative between the Parish of St Helier, the Société Jersiaise and local businesses, a semi-permanent installation of sixteen archive photographs in a shop window to the rear of the premises of Next, in Hilgrove Street (French Lane) was unveiled by the Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft in September 2010. Documenting the history of St Helier and this street in particular as the heart of the French quarter in years gone by, the display of images is an excellent way of providing the passer by with a sense of place both geographically and within the history of the town. In the neighbouring window, a display featuring an enlargement of the 1795 Richmond Map of Jersey, and prints carrying the twelve parish crests has been placed. In time the parish crests will be replaced with images representing each parish and its relationship with the town. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to view the images in this innovative and unusual location (see image).
Following the fast paced research visits of Time Team in May 2010, the Jersey based episodes on Les Gellettes, St Lawrence and Mont Orgueil Castle have been aired recently. As was evident in these broadcasts, the collections accessed at the Société Jersiaise provided primary references for Time Team’s research and excavations. In the case of Les Gellettes, the imaging techniques applied to aerial photographs drawn from the photographic archive were prominent throughout the programme.
Following installation at its second venue, Jersey Airport Departures Hall, in January and February, the Société Jersiaise contemporary photography exhibition 2010 continues its tour this summer at La Hougue Bie. Thanks to the efforts of Alan Donald and Alexandra Dessain in the Marketing and Communications Department at Jersey Airport the exhibition enjoyed some excellent publicity whilst at the airport. Passenger figures for the month of January – 75,516 – provide a concrete indication of the level of audience engagement achieved at this venue and we would like to register our thanks to Jersey Airport once again for this opportunity to promote the work of the Société Jersiaise.
Later in the year, to mark Heritage Open Day on September 10th, the Société Jersiaise will be partnering with the National Trust for Jersey to produce a photography based exhibition exploring the history and environment of St Ouen’s Bay. The exhibition will be held at Le Don Hilton: La Caumine à Marie Best.
All of the above projects signify the growing importance that is placed upon the preservation, access to, and creation of photographic archives in our culture. With this newsletter we are delighted to announce the launch of ‘Archisle; The Contemporary Jersey Photography Programme’. A project hosted by the Société Jersiaise, Archisle aims to ‘promote contemporary photography through an ongoing programme of exhibitions, educational initiatives and commissions’. Enclosed with this Newsletter is a leaflet outlining the first event in the Archisle programme: the Open Photography Exhibition 2011. We present a new format and brief, which seeks to encourage creativity and originality in exploring experiences of island culture through the medium of photography. As an exciting part of this new event format, we will be offering a series of three, two-day workshops based at the Société Jersiaise this summer (see enclosed leaflet for details). We would be most grateful if Members would take the opportunity to bring the project to wider attention where possible. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors: Le Masurier, Bacatta Trustees Limited and The Observatory for generously supporting the development of the Archisle project.
Gareth Syvret – Photographic Archivist
There is an inherent fascination in the earliest example of any class of artefact. In the case of Jersey photographs, recent findings at the Photographic Archive have revealed that the shadowy daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman reproduced with this article may meet this criterion.
The closing date for entries to the 2008 Société Jersiaise Photography Competition was reached on 26 September. This event has once again inspired an excellent response, with 365 photographs from 104 photographers submitted.