St John's College Oxford

Long-serving College staff portraits unveiled

Date 15 November 2018

College members were treated to a private drinks reception on 14th November for the unveiling of a special exhibition which features portraits of long-serving non-academic staff.

This project was commissioned by the College to celebrate the all-important contribution made by long-serving non-academic staff, and non-academic staff in general, to St John’s community. Everyone who had been working at St John’s for 15 years or more by the end of Trinity Term 2018 was invited to sit for the portraits. It is a great pleasure to record – and a real testament to what St John’s aspires to be – that 57 members of staff were eligible, and that most of them agreed to take part. The longest serving member depicted started at the College in 1973.

" Beautiful photos to celebrate the brilliant work that our staff puts in. " Visitors book
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This very enjoyable event was attended by many of the sitters, as well as family members, friends, academic staff of the college and students. The photographer, Rory Carnegie, gave a short speech, saying how much of a pleasure it was to work with the sitters and how he saw himself overall as a ‘facilitator’.  The President’s speech was lighthearted and humorous – “It only took 463 years to properly give thanks to the non-academic staff of SJC”. Everyone joined the President in toasting ‘The Staff of St John’s College’.

" Nice to be a family. " Visitors book

Keeper of the College Pictures, Dr Georgy Kantor, writes: "We have been incredibly lucky to have an internationally distinguished photographer Rory Carnegie for the project. He has been able both to give us spectacular portraits of individuals and to convey the sense in which they, with dignity and efficiency, shape this College in their everyday work. The people shown in his portraits truly belong to this place – and this place belongs to them."

" It will be nice to come back and see the portrait when I've retired. " Caroline Lordan, Graduate administrator

Rory Carnegie says "When I first met the staff who had elected to be photographed, I explained that the way that I wanted to approach the project was to give them as much authority as possible. They could choose the groups that they would be photographed in, or be photographed alone. They could choose how to dress, how to pose, and they could choose where they wanted to be photographed. Whilst the photograph was being made, the camera was tethered to a laptop, so that those being photographed could see immediately how they were being represented. After the session, I sent the images to the ‘sitters’ and they selected the final image to be printed. These photographs are the results of their collaborations, negotiations and contributions."

Staff members would like to pass on their thanks to the Fellows and students at the College who helped to organise and run the event. The portraits will be put on display in public areas round the College.

Long-serving College staff portraits