An exhibition of 50 photographic portraits of King’s women, by award-winning photographer Jooney Woodward, was launched at the Festival of 50 years of Women at King’s on 24 June.
The 50 Portraits exhibition reflects a broad cross-section of the King’s community: from the trailblazing women who first arrived at the College in 1972 to the most recent cohort of undergraduates, with subjects include current Fellows and students of King’s, alumnae from an array of different disciplines and careers, and the staff working behind-the-scenes to keep the College ticking.
All fifty portraits in the series were photographed between March and May 2023 on a Mamiya RZ67. In the programme notes, photographer Jooney Woodward explained:
I love the process and physicality of shooting on film, which has a beautiful warmth and depth of tone. I use a medium format camera and prefer to shoot in natural light in order to give the images a painterly feel. Shooting on film is a much more considered process and with only ten frames per film, I really evaluate the scene and composition in front of me before pressing the shutter.
Among the subjects photographed was alumna Mahlet Zimeta, an expert in data and digital technology whose portrait was taken near King’s Cross. After seeing her portrait for the first time at the Festival, Mahlet commented:
I loved the exhibition! The inclusion of women from the College staff community of different levels of seniority and the descriptions of their roles … it really felt like an exhibition about the life and story of the College, and where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It works as both an art collection and as a snapshot of a point in history. And of course I cherish the portrait of me, and the whole experience of it being made.
The exhibition will return to the Chapel on 22 July and remain in place over the summer, before the portraits will be put on long-term display elsewhere in the College, becoming part of the permanent art collection at King’s. The exhibition’s curator, Jonty Carr, added:
The link between environment and identity should not be understated. Who and what we choose to display on our walls is both a reflection of our present – our values and priorities – and the projection of a time still to come. The lasting presence of these women will, we hope, serve to encourage and inspire long into the future.