One of the projects that I’m working on right now is a complete survey of all the photographic and audio/visual materials in our collections. The ultimate goal of the survey is to make sure that all of these vulnerable materials are being housed in appropriate conditions and to flag items that need conservation work or conversion off of unplayable media.
In the course of this project, it has been my deep pleasure to explore the many small collections of photography by students, professors and others associated with the college. One of my personal favorites is the collection of Allan W. Forbes, class of 1908. Forbes, who went on to become an engineer after Amherst, was clearly a passionate amateur photographer. His collection contains more than 100 glass plate negatives, nearly 40 nitrate negatives and prints of around half of the images.
In addition to providing an interesting view of the campus and surrounding areas, Forbes’ images show an approach both analytical and artistic; he experimented with taking pictures of running water and there is a delightful series of night shot of campus. His prints show his experimentation with various development techniques, including different color toning, and different types of photographic paper.
Please enjoy this photographic glimpse back to 1906-1908 and look for highlights from other collections in the coming months.