The Tate has put out a plea for help. Can you help their archivists identify the locations in artist John Piper’s photographs?
Piper, born in 1903, was a leading artist of the mid-20th century. Over his lifetime he took thousands of photographs across the British Isles. He originally began taking the photographs when he worked with John Betjeman on the Shell County Guides, capturing shots of ruined abbeys, churches, old shop fronts and country inns, often fascinated by remote or forgotten places. Later in his life he would paint these sights too, capturing a world on the cusp of change.
Last week the Tate archive released nearly 6000 of these black and white images onto their website, but many are – so far – of unidentified locations. Turning the whole nation into sleuths, Tate is now asking online visitors to help them work out where these photographs might have been taken. Although they acquired the collection in the 1980s, and research is ongoing, the locations of nearly 1000 photographs remain a mystery.
If you think you can help and would like to get involved, you can either view all of John Piper’s photographs, or view them by county. And if you do find you have some information on the locations and date of the images,you can email Tate’s archivists at firstname.lastname@example.org referencing the Tate Gallery Archive (TGA) number on the photograph.
They’d also like to know what these locations look like now, and invite visitors to upload their own photographs onto the Tate website.