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Institute of Archaeology

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The Photographic Laboratory

Photography has been an integral part of the Institute's activities since its move to Gordon Square in 1958.

UCL Institute of Archaeology Photographic Lab

The first photographer at the Institute was W B Cookson who had worked extensively on excavations with Mortimer Wheeler at Maiden Castle and other Iron Age and Roman sites. He was succeeded by his assistant Mrs V Conlan and then by Mr Peter Dorrell. In his youth Peter was the photographer on the excavations in Jericho between 1955 and 1958 which were directed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon. Peter retired in 1993. The Institute's photographer, Stuart Laidlaw, worked here from 1977 until his death in 2019. He worked on excavations in Greece, Libya and Belize and also gave Archaeological Photography courses in Sri Lanka and Tenerife.

The teaching aspect within the Institute involves undergraduate student optional courses in their second or third year on Archaeological Photography, and Archaeological Illustration and Imaging.The students cover formats from 5" by 4" down to APS size. The use of Ultraviolet and Infrared imaging is demonstrated and discussed. Digital imaging is usually taken with Canon cameras, both compacts and DSLRs, and are manipulated using Photoshop CS on Apple Mac computers.

The Photographic Lab also provides illustrative material to Institute staff for use in lectures and for publication. Staff often bring finds and samples to the Photographic Lab and suggest the illustration required and so we have extensive experience of getting the best results from items that may be difficult to photograph.

Enquiries: Ken Walton