On the Shoulders of Giants

On the Shoulders of Giants was commissioned by the Fitzwilliam Museum as part of their celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the University of Cambridge. I have always had a fascination about portraits of people in their place of work. These are environmental portraits, so sometimes the sitter may be quite small as I wanted to show as much of the space as possible.

It took over a year to get permission to do this project, although I think Duncan Robinson (the then Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum and Master of Magdalene College) took about 5 minutes to make up his mind when I eventually showed him a portfolio.

It took about another year to do the photographs.

Some people were obvious subjects whilst others were chosen primarily because they were the current occupant in a historically significant location, for example, Darwin’s sets or Watson’s and Crick’s room. Everyone was hugely generous with their time as we worked together to select the locations, camera angles etc. For those interested, this was shot almost entirely on medium format film.