In 2007 and 2008 I volunteered regularly at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where I worked as a photographer. My project was to produce a set of illustrative mineral photographs chosen by the curators to represent the various crystal forms in their collections.
I found photographing these materials very different from archaeological material, with their highly reflective surfaces, deep and busy textures and extremely subtle colours. I found the requirement to capture detail within a translucent object, without the help of a polarising filter to reduce surface glare the most challenging aspect of this set of photographs. The nature of the material is generally secondary to the form of an object in archaeological artefact photography and this change took a little adjustment from me.
I have a love of science and particularly geology so I found this project hugely enjoyable.
In creating this set of reference images I gained a new understanding of the significant diagnostic features of each mineral, such as the horizontal striations on the surface of the quartz crystal (at the top of this page) which my brief was to bring out in each image.
Thumbnails displayed by permission of The University of Oxford Museum of Natural History. Photographs taken as a volunteer.