Thursday, 5 April 2012

"Glasgow's Official Photographer"

As I’ve been making headway through the one hundred and three boxes of Third Eye material, it would be easy to get so involved with the fascinating details of their contents and to forget the other strands of evidence that this project aims to explore if it were not for the strong links that exists between them.

The George & Cordelia Oliver Collection is a personal archive of an important art critic, commentator and collector that has been housed at the Glasgow School of Art since its donation by the late Cordelia Oliver in 2008.  Limited resources have dictated that no detailed research of this collection has been conducted and only an inventory has been produced.  While the material is safely kept here at GSA, it is an untapped source of narrative texture on Glasgow’s Art scene over a forty year period.  This project will for the first time begin to unearth some of its reflections, stories and images, as we index newspaper clippings, hand written notes and photographs by her husband George Oliver.

Rooting through and listing details of box twenty three, I was reminded of the compelling associations between the research strands upon finding a letter from a Director of The Third Eye Centre, Chris Carrell.  It was written in 1978 to George Oliver thanking him for some slides and confirming him as the “Third Eye Centre (Ltd) Glasgow’s official photographer” and goes on to discuss his monthly fees and rates.  

Much of the paperwork in these boxes might seem inconsequential upon first inspection, but the background details that a simple letter like this provides can strengthen and progress research and illuminate interweaving personal histories.

'Art And The Sea' 1981. Image Credit: The George & Cordelia Oliver Collection

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