Giving the exhibition it’s full name Squaring the Circles of Confusion: Neo-Pictorialism in the 21st Century.
The exhibition is curated by Zelda Cheatle, RPS Honorary Fellow, and features work from Takashi Arai, Susan Derges, David George, Joy Gregory, Tom Hunter, Ian Phillips McLaren, Céline Bodin, and Spencer Rowell. The exhibition will be on display at RPS Gallery, Bristol from 9 September to 6 November 2022
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm, free admission
Salt Printing is a contact printing process, which means that the final print will be the same size as your negative.
It was great to see the students immersed and having a great time making their own salt prints, all of which I’m happy to say turned out really well. It was a pleasure for me to see them working, enjoying and keeping this 183 year old process alive. Some of them even went back into the darkroom the following day to do more – happy days!
Personally, I think it’s fantastic that the head of the department at The School of Art, Architecture & Design push back the waves to make these masterclasses available to the BA photography students, giving them a larger creative tool-box, allowing them a wider visual language to express themselves.
It’s hard to imagine a time where there was no such thing as photography, especially today when everyone takes photographs.
Henry Fox Talbot’s discovery – making a negative in camera and using that negative to make multiple prints is the basis of all photography today. The Daguerrotype may historically mark the introduction of photography to the world but it only produced a single image.
Historically salt printing was thought to be dull and dead looking because it needed a contrasty negative for the long exposure scale – today with digital technology we can make digital negatives using curves in photoshop to suit salt printing and other alternative processes and creating prints with a beautiful longer tonal range.
In the 1800’s serious photographers used cyanotype chemistry to proof print their negatives before making silver prints, Edward S. Curtis made some great cyanotype portraits. It is actually easy to make an image with cyanotype but to make a beautiful print with a long tonal range that can compete with silver prints or platinum prints, then it’s definitely more complex.
With the advances in digital technology we are now able to print complex digital negatives that can be manipulated in Photoshop and printed on to OHP transparency film and then used to make contact prints for any of the alternative printing processes – in the past, you would have to have carried around a heavy, bulky, large format camera and tripod to make a negative the size of the images below.
The cyanotype’s here were printed in the typical blue cyan first, then the images were bleached and toned. A cyanotype can be toned in various things like, tea, coffee, wine tannin, tannic acid and various botanicals.
The first row of images below were shot using an analogue Rolleiflex f2.8 camera with Kodak Tri X 120 film, the negatives were then scanned, interpolated to a larger size and then printed onto OHP transparency film. This then allowed me to make a large contact print with cyanotype chemistry. The second row of images were shot on an iPhone to show that you don’t need expensive camera equipment in order to make a beautiful cyanotype print. The last of the images, the pear and the foggy landscape were shot on a Canon 5d digital camera.
Below are the samples that I made to show the students during the masterclass at The School of Art, Architecture & Design
I’m happy to announce that our new book and art cards for our exhibition ‘Squaring The Circles of Confusion: Neo-Pictorialism in the 21st century’, are now available from the Royal Photographic Society website/shop on this link here.
This book accompanies the exhibition of the same title which will be shown in the RPS Gallery in summer 2022, postponed from 2020. Through the work of eight contemporary photographers: Takashi Arai, Céline Bodin, Susan Derges, David George, Joy Gregory, Tom Hunter, Ian Phillips McLaren and Spencer Rowell it looks at how the craft of photography is being explored by leading artists. Making use of processes from daguerreotype, cyanotype, collodion to photogravure, kallitype and film in their work each uses historical techniques and approaches to make contemporary statements in their work. Introductory essays from Alice Zoo and Michael Pritchard discuss neo-pictorialism and the RPS’s role in pictorial photography and a glossary explains the processes and specialist terms used. The book illustrates all the work to be shown in the exhibition.
A very special thanks to curator Zelda Cheatle.
The book is available to buy here
Contemporary landscape photography:
Custom Made Fine art prints:
Happy New Year!
Brand New Project; Driving around my immediate surroundings exploring the local landscape.
The brooding clouds cut available light to near darkness, so in order to capture a sharp usable image I set my tripod awkwardly between my legs and steering wheel. The out of focus rain drops on the windscreen along with parts of the cars interior set the aesthetic for ‘Drive By’.
I set out on the first day of the new year – January 1st 2019.
Various sized fine art prints are available please email me for details.
The framed print below is 60″x40″ 5 foot wide and made up of 30 sheets of fine Japanese bamboo paper.