What are we doing? Fleur van Paassen and Karen Daghelet
Museum staff introduce themselves. A glimpse of what’s happening behind the scenes as we prepare for the opening of the new museum.
‘As Photography Manager, it’s my job to coordinate photo sessions and to manage and provide access to photographs. Besides the physical art collection, the KMSKA manages over 540,000 digital images: digitized artworks, restoration, conservation and research photographs, and photographs documenting the museum’s operations. Those can include pictures of permanent and temporary exhibition displays, the museum building and events.’
‘We’re working from home right now. It’s going pretty well, thanks to the hard work of the ICT department. The biggest change for me personally is that instead of a 90-minute commute to Antwerp, I can go straight from the breakfast table to my desk.
‘Photographing works of art is an art in itself. You have to let the object speak on its own terms and keep yourself, as photographer, in the background. Within museum photography, there’s been an increased focus in recent years on drawing up and applying international agreements on digital imagery. They’re needed in order to produce an objective image: the technical quality of a photograph has to be predictable and replicable.’
Photographing works of art is an art in itself. You have to let the object speak on its own terms and keep yourself, as photographer, in the background.
‘I actually find every aspect of my job really interesting. Because it consists of a chain of tasks: from organizing photo sessions, contact with the photographer, registering the pictures, image requests from colleagues and clients, through to delivering photographs and the finished product. Which might be a scholarly publication, a banner outside the building or a social media post. In each case, we try to do the greatest possible justice to the work of art.’
‘The development of our digital asset management system has been a real milestone. It came into operation in early 2020 and is an important step towards the sustainable, automated management of our collection of digital images. The system lets you find, open, compare and view media files quickly using the advanced zoom function.'
‘Further expanding and using our photo management system and, obviously, the reopening of the museum! All of us miss the works of art and our beautiful building.’
‘I’ve always been very impressed by the De Keyser gallery, with the museum’s monumental staircase. It’s a true Gesamtkunstwerk with its marble stairs and the big paintings with artist’s portraits.’