Which eight photos would you take with you to a desert island? Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs, Victoria & Albert Museum, reveals his choices to our regular host Stephen Bull and discusses how they reflect his life and career.

Photoworks presents Desert Island Pics with Martin Barnes in partnership with Photo London.

Desert Island Pics is an ongoing series of Photoworks talks, loosely based on the format of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Previous castaways have included Jeremy Deller, Martin Parr, Anna Fox, Sean O’Hagan, Peter Fraser, Mishka Henner, Simon Baker and Simon Roberts.


Image 1: William Ashton, gardener at Holly House, Sale (?), ca. 1910

Image 2: Maurice Broomfield, Truing a Bicycle Wheel, Raleigh Industries, Nottingham, 1954, gelatin silver print

Image 3: Clementina Hawarden, Photographic Study or Study From Life, 1863-4, albumen print

Image 4: Benjamin Brecknell Turner, At Compton, Surrey, 1852-54, albumen print from calotype negative.

Image 5: Josef Sudek, From the cycle Window of My Studio, 1940-54, gelatin silver print

Image 6: Garry Fabian Miller, Breath, The Passing Spirit, 30 Days of Sunlight, May 1st–30th 1989, dye destruction prints

Image 7: Emmet Gowin, Edith and Moth Flight, Danville, Virginia, 2002, digital inkjet print

Image 8: Richard Learoyd, Empty Oval 1, 2009, dye destruction print

The inaugural edition of Photo London took place 21-24 May 2015. As London’s first international photography fair, its aim is to harness the passionate growing audience for photography in London to nurture a new generation of collectors. Photo London is produced by the consultancy and curatorial organisation Candlestar, known for their work with Condé Nast and the Prix Pictet photography award and touring exhibition. Photo London’s public programme is supported by the LUMA Foundation.

Martin Barnes is Senior Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) London which he joined in 1995 from his previous position at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Since 1997 he has worked on the Photographs Gallery at the V&A drawing exhibitions from the museum’s collection. He has curated numerous UK and international touring shows, including Aspects of ArchitectureWhere Are We?: Questions of Landscape and Something That I’ll Never Really See: Contemporary Photography from the V&A. He curated the V&A exhibitions Diane Arbus Revelations (2005-6); Twilight: Photography in the Magic Hour (2006); Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography (2010) and co-curated Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography (2011). He is currently working towards exhibitions of early photographs of India and Burma by Linnaeus Tripe and a major retrospective of Paul Strand.

His publications include Benjamin Brecknell Turner: Rural England through a Victorian Lens, (V&A Publications, 2001); Illumine: Photographs by Garry Fabian Miller – A Retrospective (Merrell, 2005)
Twilight: Photography in the Magic Hour (V&A / Merrell, 2006), Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography (V&A / Merrell, 2010) and Horst: Patterns from Nature (V&A / Merrell, 2014). He was presented with the Royal Photographic Society J Dudley Johnston Award in 2013 in recognition of ‘major achievements in the field of photographic criticism and the history of photography, awarded for sustained excellence over a period of time.

Martin was editor of Talking Photography, a catalogue of the audio and visual collections of the British Library National Sound Archive, where he is an interviewer for the Oral History of British Photography project. He has written articles and essays on various contemporary photographers for publications and journals including Photoworks and Aperture, entries for The Folio Society Book of the 100 Greatest Photographs (2006) and the Encyclopaedia of Nineteenth Century Photography (2007) and contributed to international exhibition catalogues on the role of photography in the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts Movements.

This event took place at 6.30pm Saturday, 23 May 2015
Fernandez and Wells Café, Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA

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