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Instrumental Photoshoots

Preparations are under way for the Horniman's new At Home With Music display to be added to the Music Gallery.

Moving some of the larger keyboard instruments into place offered the perfect opportunity to photograph each object to documentation standards. Horniman photographer Dani set up her studio in the performance space at the back of the music gallery and set to work.

Some instruments, such as this square piano had some special attention from the conservation team to get them looking their best for their photoshoot and new life on display.

Photographs taken for museum documentation purposes have strict quality guidelines. Each shot is examined closely to see it meets standards.

Sometimes getting just the right light in just the right places requires a bit of teamwork (and a large piece of Tyvek).

It's important to make sure the background is completely clear of even the tiniest specks.

Some of these instruments were extremely heavy and required specialist handling to get them in and out of the studio without damage.

It's not just a case of taking one shot; Dani takes multiple frames and later stitches them together to get the most detailed and true-to-life image. It's a lot of hard work, but the end result is a beautiful set of photographs showing each instrument from multiple angles.

Including some close-ups of the details.

And even some shots of the inner-workings.

These images will go into our object and image databases and will be available to anyone wishing to study the instruments in the future, as well as providing a valuable resource to the museum.

At Home With Music will be open from the end of Janurary 2014. Be sure to visit the Music Gallery and see some of these amazing instruments for yourself.