These are my photographs of stamps from my family’s collection. My great-grandfather, RJG Collins, was a well known philatelist and designed the iconic 1 penny Kiwi stamp from the 1935 2nd pictorial series in New Zealand. All the stamps are from his collection. Photographing them requires a similar kind of attention to detail and concentration as the process of creating and collecting these stamps, and so I feel I am connecting to him through this process.
By printing large I want to shine a light on the period in history in which they were created and the incredible craftsmanship involved. I shoot them on a large format film camera to bring out as much of the detail as possible. I print them by hand from rolls of fibre-based silver gelatin paper in my darkroom going as large as 50 x 60 inches. Raising the stamps above the background allows them to cast a strong shadow and they acquire a third dimension. This 3D quality can also be seen in the indentations of ink from the intaglio engraving that forms the image.