North Somerset Artsweek 2019

It has been a very busy April/May – preparing 75 pieces for North Somerset Artsweek #nsaw2019 – but so worth it!

We have had a great response from visitors to the Clevedon Theatre Shop venue, in terms of numbers, purchases and (more importantly) conversations. Just today and tomorrow to go then time for a rest.

NSAW2019_Venue36 (1 of 1)
The artists, Eric, Laura and myself.

NSAW2019_Venue36 (2 of 2)My work on show – B&W photos taken with the antique camera and large prints taken with the new Fujis. Also one of the wood-sculptures – Starling murmuration (sold).

NSAW2019_Venue36 (1 of 2)

A successful first lino-cut in a short taster-workshop.

Antique camera at Hartland Quay

It has been a busy few weeks preparing for North Somerset ArtsWeek in May. I am exhibiting at The Theatre Shop, Clevedon BS21 6HX.
#NSAW19 @NSomersetArts northsomersetarts.org 
More of this later…..

Meanwhile I wanted to spend some time enjoying the drama that is the North Devon Coastline. No better place than Hartland Quay – and so it proved.

A two night stay at The Hartland Quay Hotel (recommended) gave me the time to view the cliffs and sea in a variety of light and weather conditions.

A mix of paper negatives and x-ray film was used. The X-ray film exposure times have been tricky to work out – I am still experimenting. Anything from 1/125s (using the Thompson Pickard shutter) and 2 seconds have yielded images, but the longer times do seem over-exposed on  processing. I have some more work to do on the images and will post later.

HartlandQuayRocks-3-1HartlandQuayRocks-2

Yorkshire Trip & a Half-Plate Camera

Taking the opportunity to stay a few days at Skipton this week, I packed the VW Camper with my “new” 1900s Hora bellows camera and basic dark-room gear and headed into the countryside – enjoying the challenges of photographing in the snow.

VW Camper Darkroom (1 of 2) vw-camper-darkroom-2-of-2.jpg

With such bright – but high contrast scenes it was always going to be a challenge to get any kind of image on the paper negative. Even with the paper at ISO 6,  F45 still only have me a 2 to 4 second shutter speed. So I used the Thornton Pickard shutter with the “time” setting and held it open with an air bulb for a count of up to 4 seconds.IMG_4530 IMG_1603

Photographing waterfalls was a similarly challenging exercise – again a high contrast subject. This time the light level was lower allowing for a longer, and hence proportionally more accurate timing of the, exposure.

IMG_6419

Here was a good place to compare the two lens types I now have. A wide angle 5inch ? F6.4-22 Apem Asymmetrical and a standard 8 inch F8-45 Beck Symmetrical.IMG_1559  IMG_8844

I am very happy with the images from both of these lenses though the wide angle image was over-exposed – only working with a 2 second exposure at f22. I had pre-flashed the paper negatives before setting out on this trip and am happy to report a much improved dynamic range as a result.

I think the images are really atmospheric – they draw you in to explore, to see and discern detail. The hyper-reality, hyper-clarity of many modern digital images leaves no mystery – you see the image and quickly forget it. But an image that you have to work with a bit lingers more in the memory and invites you to fill in the hidden/un-revealed detail. You finish the story of the image – so you have an investment in the image – start to form a relationship with the image- the subject – the photographer.

 

 

 

 

Make a Mess – event Weston Super Mare

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/make-a-mess-tickets-56035951038

Saturday 9th March in Weston High Street,

I’ll be there offering the opportunity to try Aluminium etching of a photograph. The photograph can be one we provide or one of your own – even a selfie! This is about making something permanent from the type of image that’s typically quickly forgotten or passed over. It’s about slowing down the image making process – taking 30 minutes – if we are investing that amount of time in an image we will think more carefully about the image’s significance.

Repairing a Thornton Pickard Shutter

I added a second plate camera (By Hora & Co – Wandsworth London 1902-1930) to my collection recently and it came with a Thornton Pickard Shutter. This worked Ok for half a dozen shots, but then broke whilst I was photographing my favourite Exmoor trees (see pic above).

The problem was with the shutter curtain which is made of rubberised silk and had perished. Thankfully shutter curtain mertial can be bought from a supplier in Japan for just £16 including delivery. I have also benefitted from reading how to dissassemble and re-assemble a shutter on Paul Wins’ website.

Currently the shutter is in pieces whilst I wait for the delivery of the new shutter material. I have laid out the shutter pieces and stuck them to a piece of paper to measure for the new piece.

The beauty of working with these cmaeras is the relative ease with which they can be repaired and adjusted using simple tools and materials.

Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3599Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3598Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3597Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3595Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3596Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3594Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3593Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3591Thornton Pickard Shutter repair-3592

 

Pre-Flashing the Paper Negative

Another useful tip from an online forum – to reduce the contrast of a photo paper negative, the advice is to “pre-flash” it with a short exposure to an enlarger light. I don’t have an enlarger so have rigged a small desk light with a couple of sheets of tracing paper over the shade and then added a filter holder and for the flashing added a number 9 Ilford magenta filter. Pre-Flashing the paper for 0.5 to 1.0 s seems to have given an improvement in tonality for the images. To test the process, I deliberately chose a high contrast picture – dark soil and white, sun-lit, crocus flower.

First – without flashing

Crocus-1.jpg

Second- with.

Crocus-1-2

 

 

Awe-inspiring visual arts

%d bloggers like this: