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Volunteers Week: A Q&A with Paul

Throughout this week we have been celebrating our hardworking team of Volunteers.

For today, the final day of Volunteers Week, we will be featuring Paul whose expertise and years of photography experience have proven to be an invaluable asset to the team. 


How does working on the collection here compare with the British Museum and V&A?

It is difficult to say, the British Museum and V&A are very different collections with both National Museums they stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest museums in the world. The Herbert has pleasantly surprised me with its collections of artefacts and art both from the local area and further afield. I used to think that the BM & V&A had funding problems but it is only when you start helping out at a smaller institution that you realise the amazing work being done on such a small budget.


What is your favourite item from the collection that you have photographed whilst you have been with us?

So far, I think a recent acquisition which is a drawing of soldiers loading ammunition. In this image, the Black soldier is not drawn, but he is represented by blank paper. This symbolises that history has forgotten – or conveniently overlooks –  the contribution of ethnic forces made to the British and Allied armies in the war.


What else in our collection are you particularly looking forward to working on?

I am still learning about the Herbert’s collections so it is difficult to pinpoint a particular object or collection but I have never photographed Natural History so I will relish that challenge. But just finding unexpected gems while photographing a collection is always what I most enjoy. 


What is your main reason for volunteering with us?

I have spent a very privileged life photographing some of the world’s greatest art treasures and I feel it is time to give back some of the knowledge and experience I have learned to hopefully enhance other people's chance to see and experience Art. 

Hopefully, by enabling the Herbert to get more images of its collections online more and more people will be able to learn and be inspired by the Herbert’s collections.


If you had the opportunity to volunteer anywhere which institution would you choose?

Apart from volunteering just to watch at Twickenham or Lords? Or maybe the J Paul Getty Villa so I can surf photograph art and then surf again in the warm sun of Malibu.

Seriously I think you reach a point in life where you need to give back to the community where you live so I am very happy to volunteer at the Herbert and learn about its collection.

But if pressed to be able to photograph newly found archaeological treasures as they come out of the ground.


                        Would you like to volunteer with us? The simply click here to take a look at all our current opportunities.