Category Archives: photographic material

Waterlillies


Earlier in the year I visited the Monet Gardens at Giverny to photograph the waterlillies. Prior to the shoot, I was asked to make some test shots for a few ideas I had, and these are the results. Shot at my local, Kew, the ideas weren’t adopted in the end, but a few days ago I finally made some high res scans. I love using square format. Unfortunately most art directors worry when you mention it. To fit a page, a crop is almost inevitable, making its use irrelevant.  And why shoot a beautful garden in black and white? The […]

Alternative print processes


Last week the printer and photographer, Jack Lowe, added a new posting to his blog about Calotype printing. He has been experimenting with digital negatives suitable for old print processes, and has collaborated with photographer Richard Freestone in producing two prints using the Calotype process. This struck a chord with me. During the late 1990’s, I spent a long time in my darkroom working with similar techniques. My particular interests were gum bichromate and Kallitype printing. These are contact printing processes, which require negatives the same size as the final print. The sensitized paper with the negative on top is […]

Paradalia


Just after Christmas I received an email asking me to donate a signed print for a silent auction. I often get email requests, and an awful lot appear to me  as scams. But this one had something genuine about it and, after a few enquiries, it turned out to be students raising money for the photography degree show at The Arts University College at Bournemouth. So I sent them a print. This week I received an email saying it had sold for £350, contributing to the £4000 raised, which is nice to know! Their show is called “Paradalia” and will run […]

Shake it, shake, it like a Polaroid picture…..or not!


The instructions from Polaroid issued after the song by OutKast suggested you shouldn’t really shake your valuable instant photographs as they developed. In fact shaking is more likely to cause damage. So however energetic you feel, gently place each picture on a flat surface …..and watch it, watch it! Apparently the idea of shaking your print came from using the old peel-apart material which had a damp surface immediately after developing. Shaking the prints helped them to dry – or so the say. Yesterday I went to Kew Gardens to test my latest photographic acquisition, a Polaroid 320 camera. After […]

Clip, judge and run


Strange how with the passage of time you start to look back with rose tinted spectacles. Three times over the last week I have had conversations about missing the routine of hanging round a film lab after a shoot. For me it was pretty much a daily occurrence, though at the time, I saw it as a real inconvenience. The last E6 film I had processed was on 21st December 2004. I remember the shoot vividly. A freezing cold day at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold. Forward 24 hours and a phone call from my lab… “There’s a […]

The grass was always greener.


I’m a bit of a collectoholic. Usually of things that contain photographs, especially books and vinyl records. But on Saturday I found some old postcards in an antique shop in Shrewsbury. I wouldn’t normally buy these, but one in particular caught my eye. It’s just odd – a hand-tinted photo montage, with a touch of Terry Gilliam thrown in. It is almost sinister. There’s no reference as to what it represents – maybe The Water Babies – or perhaps it’s religious…….or both. Any suggestions? Flicking through the the large box I also found some seaside cards, many retouched to within […]

Worth a look…….Vivian Maier, nanny and street photographer……and The British Council film collection


Just a quick note on a couple of things worth looking at. The first is a clip from a WTTW broadcast on American TV called Chicago Tonight. It details the discovery of a collection of street photographs taken by a nanny named Vivian Maier, who worked in New York from the 1950’s through to the early 1990’s. The collection amounts to an estimated 100,000 negatives, and could be one of the most important photographic discoveries for many years. The work is largely unknown – even her employers through the years didn’t really appreciate what she was doing. But it is […]

Should one squirt, spurt or spray?


I sold my first limited edition photographs as a student in 1982. They were C-type prints, in the days when a C-type was still a C-type. At that time, it was a very much a pariah process, as the archival stability was suspect. Probably with good reason, as about 20 to 30 years was the estimated life span. OK. What is a C-type? Remember the faded prints you used to see in the window of your local chemist, showing happy, smiling people on holiday? A C-type. Slightly faded is probably being generous – they were more than likely faded to […]