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UAL Research Online

"Permanent Archive of Spiti Photographs at The British Library"

Sutherland, Patrick (2007) "Permanent Archive of Spiti Photographs at The British Library". [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Sutherland, Patrick

The British Library’s permanent archive of ‘Spiti Photographic Archive’ is a substantial photographic documentation of the community of Spiti, a culturally Tibetan valley in Himachal Pradesh, North India. The earliest works included in The British Library’s collection date from 1993 when the valley was opened up to outsiders and it continues to derive material from the researcher’s most recent field-trips to the area (his twelfth) in the autumn of 2007.

Researcher’s photographs acquired by the British Library document in intimate detail, daily life, social spaces, monastic communities, the 1996 visit of the Dalai Lama, caste roles, Spiti weddings, musicians, tourism, modernity and social change. There is a substantial holding on the Buchen, travelling religious actors unique to the Spiti valley, whose winter performances of traditional Tibetan plays have never previously been properly documented.

The British Library has purchased a substantial selection of 75 archive prints from the researcher for its permanent collection. Additionally it holds a collection of 65 other images as digital files. In total their current holding is 140 images. Each image is supported by metadata detailing locations, date, media and descriptive details of the images. The photographs of Spiti supplement the existing collection of historical works in Himachal Pradesh by Samuel Bourne and others, from the India Office archive.

Further prints will be added to the archive as funding becomes available. The holding of digital files is also being increased very substantially. Eventually a full set of contact sheets of all the material will be deposited along with the original negatives.

The archive has been financially supported by the British Library.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 1 September 2007
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 22:28
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2011 14:14
Item ID: 1661
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1661

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