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Source Magazine: Thinking Through Photography - Web Features - Careers In Photography - Heritage Photographer - DoE NIEA Historic Environment Division - Tony Corey. Posted: Tue 24 Mar 2015.

DoE NIEA Historic Environment Division
Tony Corey

What does your job entail day to day in a normal week?

The one thing I would say is that, there is not an average day or week, so I’ll lay out a week.

Monday: (AM) Team meetings/briefs.(PM) Fix in place the schedule for the weeks work, contact all those who need to be contacted and lay out all equipment needed, charge any batteries or power sources, print out maps and any other paperwork required.

Tuesday: Leave home 6.30am for 2 hour drive to Airport, meet pilot and go over flight plan for the day, (with some archaeological sites, aerial photographs can provide much more information than those images taken from the ground). Change into warm clothing and extra layers, take flight and shoot for two hours. Return to office and download all imagery and check. Recharge batteries, clean lenses used and sensor if required.

Wednesday: (AM) Meet other staff at office before going out to an archaeological dig along proposed new road. On arrival at site access area for best locations and set up mast and any other equipment required, on completion of work return to office and download imagery, recharge batteries, clean any equipment / lenses used and sensor if required. (PM) Start to process the imagery from the last two days, we shoot in RAW and process to the desired format, High res tiffs for our DAMs (archive) and jpegs for internet at whatever size is required.

Thursday: (AM) Move all processed work into the DAMs and Name/id, (metadata). Answer any quires / emails. Studio photograph small selection of archaeological finds. (PM) Process imagery then scan and print image from early glass plate.

Friday: Leave home and go direct to site. Set up daylight flash system and record early C9th carve stonework, visit 5 other sites for general record photography, return to office, download, recharge batteries, clean any equipment/lenses used and sensor if required. Process imagery.

The NIEA has an image archive and DAMs which I currently administer for HED (500,000 images), there are 16,000+ historic/archaeological sites and 8,500 listed buildings, each one requires recording, add to this the increasing number of excavations, finds, publication, etc and the work load can be seen, on top of this there have been many days where all I have done is paperwork, finance, requests, admin etc.

How do you decide what makes a good photograph?

All our imagery has a very basic requirement, it must be sharp, correctly exposed and answer what was asked of it, (does it do the job? What does it tell us about the site/object?) We record for many purposes, to document change, to record ongoing work, to add to the archive, for exhibition/publication etc.

Did you study photography or something else and how was it useful?

I studied photography to post-graduate level and when I started this job I went back to university to study Archaeology (nights), this gave me a much greater understanding of my subject. Knowledge is always useful.

What was your first photography job and how did you get it?

My first 'real' photography job (where I actually made money) was self employment, mostly producing weddings and portraiture, although I did also lecture on a part-time basic during this time, at the Southern Regional college as it is now known.

What's the most interesting piece of work you have published recently?

We published many books each year on specialist archaeological subjects and supply imagery to interested bodies for magazines, exhibitions, internet, etc, Recent publications including the two volume monograph on the Archaeology of County Fermanagh.

What advice would you have for someone at school (16-18) interested in working in your area of photography?

Firstly study photography, This can be done at either college or by self study, (many award winning photographers have learnt their trade either on the job or by self study) Experiment, get the ‘Money shot’ then try something different for yourself. Know your subject; it is so much easier to photograph a subject you have a clear view on or knowledge of.

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