Bradford’s National Media Museum: what does ‘media’ mean anyway?

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

With the Science Museum’s northern outpost facing closure, Guardian photographer Eamonn McCabe, who was a photography fellow in the 1980s, shares his love of the museum – if not its new name

In 1988 I was fortunate to be appointed as fellow in photography at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford. I had been photographing sport for the Observer for many years and had covered three Olympics and a couple of football World Cups but always thought there was more to photography and I was hungry to learn.

Some big names in photography have been fellows at Bradford over the years – Nancy Honey, Fay Godwin and Paul Graham among them – and I was hoping some of their skills would rub off on me.

I was interviewed by the great curator Colin Ford, who set up the museum in 1983 and he liked my idea of what to photograph for the year.

Ironically I spent my fellowship photographing Bradford City football club, which had the terrible fire in 1985. But my plan was to have an exhibition at the end of the year without a ball in any of the photographs. I nearly achieved it too, save for one shot. But it wasn’t on the pitch, it was in captain Stuart McCall’s hands as he carried it down the dressing room steps at Aston Villa. I was lucky I could get backstage.

The photographs I made as fellow were dusted down again this year and put on display to celebrate Bradford City getting to Wembley for the League Cup final.

I also had to do a bit of teaching at the local college and do a few workshops at the museum, but it was me that was doing all the learning. The museum, once the site of an old ice rink, was stuffed to the gills with great old photographs and many hands-on exhibits in the photographic and television studios that were recreated.

The place was always full of kids and enthusiasts and they genuinely loved it.

It wasn’t all roses though. The renowned war photographer Don McCullin and I were asked to supply some photographs for a display and to make a tape so that in a recreated news desk people could ring us up and hear how we went about our work.

Unfortunately the tapes got mixed up. I remember picking up the phone on my ‘desk’ and hearing Don talking down the line about photographing the troubles in Cyprus. It was months before they were switched and it must have confused a few.

In 2006 the powers-that-be at the Science Museum in London renamed Bradford the National Media Museum. I couldn’t believe it. I immediately wrote and told the new director what I thought of their new name. He wrote back and said: “Don’t worry we will have a chair in photography.” “A chair?” I said. “We used to have a whole museum!”

When it was the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television we all knew what was in the building, but what does media in a museum sense mean? No wonder nobody is going – we don’t know what’s in it. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | Eamonn McCabe Thanks for reading Jay


About jayclappphotography

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Posted on June 10, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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