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About Ajax - History & Picture Library News

History: Ajax News & Feature Service was established in the early 1970s to service the editorial needs of publishers with words and photographs of events occurring in the maritime world. It was the first such specialist agency of its kind, its picture library built on the existing work of photojournalist Jonathan Eastland who took up the camera professionally in 1966 after a short career in the British Merchant Navy.

Marine Picture Library

The picture library: In the decades since it was formed, Ajax News & Feature Service has evolved into a major supplier of images and words to the world's specialist marine, travel and photographic media. The Ajaxnetphoto.com Picture Library incorporates the Ajax News Photos and Ajax Vintage Picture Library archives as well as several other important collections.


Marine Picture Library

Availability: Ajax now uses the Alamy.com platform to host its growing image collection. Please use the link to access our archives on Alamy.

click here for link to the archives on the next page

Image resource: The Ajaxnetphoto.com Picture Library comprises more than 200,000 original analogue photographs in the form of glass and film b+w negatives and large format prints; 35mm, 6X6cm, 6X9cm and 5X4 ins colour transparencies and colour negatives dating from 1858 to the present.The resource is gradually being digitalised. New additions are made frequently.

Image supply: Ajaxnetphoto.com now uses the Alamy.com platform to host its digital image files. Please see above for links to Alamy.

Ajax Vintage Library (AVL): The AVL was originally started as a hobby by Jonathan Eastland in the 1960s with a small collection of inherited early 20th century images. A large number of glass negative plates soon grew the collection; its importance as an archive of historical and academic interest enabled it to be incorporated into the main library. In the decades since it was established this section has grown to contain thousands of images of maritime and social life dating back to 1858. The library's most recent acquisition is the Vosper Thornycroft Shipbuilding archive covering more than a century of small and large ship construction at sites on the Thames and at Woolston in Southampton. Other collections include Reg Calvert's work made in the Caribbean Islands in the 1950s and 60s, and the Viv Townley aviation archive from the 1960s and 70s.

Contemporary works in the library date from the 1960s and cover a range of topics. The majority of images contained in this section of the picture library are by Jonathan Eastland, an award winning photographer and the author of several books on marine and photography subjects.

Important images in b+w and colour of ocean, dinghy, single and two handed racing events, major regattas such as America's Cup, Admiral's Cup, Whitbread World Race, skippers, crews and yacht designers dating back 100 years are now available, allowing publishers access to one of the world's most comprehensive yachting photo archives.

All sections of this image data bank are updated frequently. It includes some of the most iconic marine photos ever made as well as fresh and previously unpublished material.

Vosper Thornycroft collection: Ajax News & Feature Service acquired rights to the Vosper Thornycroft collection. One of the oldest shipbuilding companies in the UK and one of the largest specialist builders of sophisticated warships moved from Woolston in Southampton to a new site within the historic Portsmouth Royal Naval Dockyard. Practically the last unit to be dismantled at Woolston was the photographic studio and darkrooms where thousands of images held on glass plates and film had been stored for almost a century.

Over the years since John Thornycroft moved his business from the Thames to the south coast of England in the early 1900s and since the amalgamation with Vosper Ltd of Portsmouth, large chunks of the VT photo library were dispersed, their whereabouts and condition uncertain. In an effort to preserve the remaining images, Ajax negotiated with the VT Group to undertake the task of preservation. Many early examples in the VT collection have deteriorated over the years, their condition worsened by occasional high spring tide floods on the original storage site and by the various moves needed to rehouse the collection at different times. A long and slow process of cleaning and restoration is in progress at Ajax to digitalise these important images and using sophisticated scanners modified to extract the maximum detail from the original glass negatives.

1950s Indo-China Jean Corre Kodachrome collection: During the 1950s, Frenchman Jean Corre travelled through Indo-china as a missionary. He was an enthusiastic amateur photographer, recording the French military, people and places in VietNam and neighbouring Laos. He returned to France in the 1960s and lived for the rest of his life on the west coast of Brittany until his death in the 1980s. He left behind thousands of unseen original Kodachrome transparencies in a battered leather suitcase in the damp and windy attic of his house.

Ajax News & Feature Service was given details about the Jean Corre Kodachrome collection in the 1990s and eventually acquired more than 3,000 images in their original yellow Kodak packs. A long process of evaluation and editing began. Many images suffered severe deterioration of colour fading and fungus growth during years of damp storage.

Gradually, many of these images are being brought back to life using sophisticated scanning and colour restoration techniques.



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