Whales On Film

These stunning film stills were taken in collaboration with artist and film-maker Jessica Rinland who joined us in the Whale Aisle to document the ‘Once in a Whale’ project.

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Jessica graduated in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London, and approached us to gather material for her work, which has an ongoing theme of whale biology and their impact on her as an artist.

‘In 2011 I encountered a stranded whale on the shores of Pegwell Bay, Kent. Struck by the immensity of the mammal, the spectacle that it created, and the scientists that were performing the visible necropsy, I began to investigate the reasons why they strand. The elusive truth behind the behaviour of these creatures, difficult to discern through theories that often seem as outlandish as folk law, has become the subject of my current body of work.’

The nature of Jessica’s analogue work (see the stills below) is something we were really excited to be involved in, it’s wonderful as conservators to see the preservation of traditional methods of film-making.

‘I like the discipline of having one roll of 100ft and having to pay attention to what is going on around me, choosing moments, rather than continuous shooting. And the delay from shooting to watching back the footage allows me time to evaluate my memory of the moment before seeing what I captured.

A great analogy is that film is like painting with oils and digital is like painting with acrylics – someone else said that but it’s pretty accurate. They are two different mediums that both have their negative and positive traits.’


We wish to thank Jessica Rinland for involving us in her work, and we will look forward to sharing her film with you.

Also, if you’re interested in seeing Jessica’s work, there is an event at the London Review Bookshop on February 12th 2014.

Nicola Crompton, Conservation Intern

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