Strong Room


Artist/photo book Strong Room (Negative Press London, 2014) is a collaboration with artist Jane Wildgoose (Roelof Bakker, photographs; Jane Wildgoose, author).

In Strong Room, photographs showing traces of preserved past human activity are used as inspiration for writing about the loss of tangible experiences and the lack of physical presence in the digital world, as well as exploring the historical and academic importance of paper-based archives and the potential of material qualities to prompt the imagination and evoke memories.

Daniel Jewesbury writes in the spring 2014 issue of Source Photographic Review:

“Here are tiny individual deaths, of experience and knowledge and tactile memory, quotidian interactions between the mental and the physical, in the old ‘real’ world, that world which, we now know, is merely a huge explanatory model of digital information, like those coloured balls connected with white sticks that are used to demonstrate atomic structures; a model where things with mass and dimensions in space represent data forms which, in truth, have neither. The book captures the passing into irrelevance, or historical curiosity, of the world model, and its simplicity is the key to its power.”

Strong Room has been acquired by Chelsea College of Arts Library (London, UK), MoMA Library (New York, USA), Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), Yale Centre for British Art (Newhaven, USA) and Sydney College of the Arts Library (Sydney, Australia) and is part of the Library Project Collection, Photo Ireland (Dublin, Ireland).

Strong Room was selected for Kaleid 2014, an exhibition of fifty new European artists’ books (19 July, Art Academy, London SE1) and for F Book Show (26 March to 13 April 2014, 72 Gallery, Tokyo, Japan) an exhibition of new photography books from the UK curated by Brighton’s Photobookshow.

Bakker and Wildgoose gave a talk about Strong Room in relation to material memories and the digital record on 8 June 2017 at IABA Europe 2017, Kings College, London.

The paper ‘Strong Room: Material Memories and the Digital Record’ by Jane Wildgoose and Roelof Bakker appears in European Journal of Life Writing, Vol 7 (2018),

Photographs from the ‘Strong Room’ series won First Prize (Gold) at the London Photographic Association Still Life 5 competition (June 2011). The photographs were taken at Hornsey Town Hall in 2010.

Negative Press London
Jane Wildgoose

Strong Room Roelof Bakker Jane Wildgoose Negative Press London Hornsey Town Hall

Roelof Bakker Strong Room Hornsey Town Hall

‘Strong room (2)’ from Strong Room

Roelof Bakker Strong Room Hornsey Town Hall

‘Strong room (5)’ from Strong Room

Roelof Bakker Strong Room Hornsey Town Hall

‘Council chamber (1)’ from Strong Room