Brought to light from the afterlife
Over a ten-year period, from the first inventory until the last find was transferred to the museum, the photographer Harry Burton documented every aspect of the work in Tutankhamun’s tomb. It was only through his fantastic pictures that the pharaoh was really rendered immortal.
The Metropolitan Museum had provided Burton as the photographer of the excavation work; he was “Carter’s eye and memory”. With his enormous camera and cumbersome negative plates, he commuted indefatigably between the place of discovery, his laboratory, which he had set up in the tomb of Sethos II, and his improvised darkroom in the neighbouring tomb (no. 55). The result of his labours is 2,800 large-format glass negatives, which document all the finds, their location in the tomb and every single step of the excavators’ work with the utmost precision. Thanks to them, Burton, whom Carter patiently and unconditionally encouraged like no other member of the team, was the first and to date only archaeology photographer to have achieved worldwide fame.