Holly's Pics

Bridgeman's Footage Cataloguing & Research Manager reveals her favourite images and clips in the archive 

1. What is your role at Bridgeman?
 
I head up Bridgeman Footage, managing the existing and incoming footage collections. I edit and catalogue new content and provide footage research support to our sales teams in the London and international offices. 
 

 
2. What do you love most about the job?
 
As a film fanatic, I'm totally bewitched by archive footage of pretty much anything. It might sound silly, but I love being able to watch real-life evidence of the past. It doesn’t matter what subject - the Cuban Revolution or just a lady walking down a Manhattan sidewalk in the 1900s - the fact that it happened and I am here at my desk 100 years later watching it replay on a screen in front of me, it’s magic. 
 
I also love how varied our content is. One minute I could be cataloguing some stunning 4K travel footage of Swat Valley in Pakistan, the next researching the history of aviation. I’m constantly learning and it never ever gets boring.


 
3. What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive? 
 
Those who only know of Bridgeman Images as a library of fine art are often surprised to discover that we also provide a footage platform, the content of which remains faithful to the Bridgeman themes of Art, Culture and History. They are further surprised to find out just how diverse and wide-ranging our archive is.

 

 

Holly Webster, Bridgeman Footage Cataloguing & Research Manager
Holly Webster, Bridgeman Footage Cataloguing & Research Manager

 

 

Rather than just a library for fine art, we are a treasure trove of so much more: social history, turn-of-the-century moving image, rare interviews, artist's profiles, vintage animation, Egyptology in high definition, 1920s home movies... 

Holly's favourite images and clips in the archive are...

 

Square du Vert-Galant on a wintry day, Paris, 1929, Andre Kertesz (1894-1985) / The Israel Museum, Israel
Square du Vert-Galant on a wintry day, Paris, 1929, Andre Kertesz (1894-1985) / The Israel Museum, Israel

 

 
 
 
 

This is just one of the many Andre Kertesz photographs that I absolutely adore. In fact, I'm borderline obsessed with his work. His signature high-vantage point and geometric shadows mess with natural perspective, often causing his street scenes to look like collages or print designs. He makes the world look slightly different… and far more interesting.
 
One of the first clips I catalogued for Bridgeman Footage was this animated video for Kraftwerk's Autobahn. It is completely off the wall. As a fan of both Kraftwerk AND weird vintage animation, I was (overly) excited to come across this 1979 golden nugget from the legendary Halas & Batchelor animation studio, whose collection of animated shorts remains very close to my heart. Turn the volume up!

 

Autobahn / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Autobahn / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

 

 

Indonesian tribespeople see Caucasian men for the first time in New Guinea, Indonesia, 1959 / Bridgeman Footage
Indonesian tribespeople see Caucasian men for the first time in New Guinea, Indonesia, 1959 / Bridgeman Footage

 


 
 
This clip gets me every time. It's 1959 and Dutch explorers introduce themselves - and their comic books - to a remote Indonesian tribe in the Star Mountains of New Guinea. I love how fixated they are with the explorers' hair. The clip comes from another favourite collection of mine: a vast Dutch archive specialising in WWI & WWII footage, as well as life in the Dutch East Indies during the 20s, 30s and 40s. It holds an inexhaustible number of delicious little archive gems.
 
As a big ballet and contemporary dance fan, I love this kooky performance of influential choreographer Maurice Béjart's "Variations on a Door and a Sigh". The title cracks me up, but the dance - although a little dated - so brilliantly marries sound and movement in such a minimalistic, deadpan way. From the wonderfully eclectic Creative Arts Television archive, also home to Hitchcock, Lucas and Cage. Need I say more?

 

"Variations on a Door and a Sigh" - choreographed by Maurice Béjart & performed by Maina Gielgud, 1971 / Bridgeman Footage

 

 

Battle of the Somme, 1916 / Bridgeman Footage
Battle of the Somme, 1916 / Bridgeman Footage

 

 
This clip gives me a shiver every time I see it. It is an elevated, distant view of the Somme battlefield, 1916. We have hundreds of far more explicit and detailed clips from WWI but seeing from afar what look like toy soldiers - but whom we know to be real men dodging real shell explosions, desperately trying to make it over No Man's Land alive - is for me one of the most humbling pieces of archive footage I've ever come across.
 
I grew up with this Egon Schiele piece on the bathroom wall and I always saw her as a red-headed version of my mum, home and tired, still in her dance clothes after a long day teaching ballet.

Looking at it objectively, I think it's a beautiful painting, but it will also always remind me of home, innocence, sleepy domestic comfort and bath-time… probably not what Schiele was going for, but there we go!
 

 

Seated Woman with Bent Knee, 1917, Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Seated Woman with Bent Knee, 1917, Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

 


Find out more

Bridgeman Footage comprises historical and contemporary films from around the world. Search exclusive and unseen clips on Art, Culture and History alongside over one million stills for your complete visual package, or alternatively visit our dedicated Youtube page.


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