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Franklin the printer

Creative thoughts on portraits through the ages

Gathering the creative strands

This was a day when three strands of creative thought came together as I reflected on portraits in print and stone.

The first was some creative stuff, spurred on by the Steve Gosling event over the weekend. Steve suggested looking for inspiration in the arts community and as The RPS is one of the lead partners in Art UK’s project to document all publicly accessibly sculpture in the United Kingdom I started there. RPS members have undertaken an enormous amount of photography for the project and there are currently over 22,000 images of public sculpture to look at. I have a past professional interest in sculpture so seemed to be a good place to start.

The second was some current work stuff. I write for the identity industry where the transition from physical to digital documentation is proceeding headlong. This brings together two of my interests, print for physical documents and smartphone image capture for the digital domain. This transition will one day be part of our photo history and I find it informative to research what has influenced similar transitions in the past. On my travels I have searched out images of people who have been important to this industry in the past, so I checked out same amongst the Arts UK collection and went for Benjamin Franklin.

The third is my long standing connection with print. Not much of a connection to sculpture or identity unless you look hard but I found it on a visit to Washington DC. Benjamin Franklin; fellow physicist and printer! Not many printers are celebrated in public sculpture so this was worth remembering.