Friday, December 31, 2010

GAG - (Geriatrics Analogue Group)

During the last annual pilgrimage to Sechlabathebe National Park, Bob, Steve, Paul and I were literally "snowed in" by unexpected bad weather. Fortunately our supplies of food, grape juice and various other malt beverages sustained us.

Although conditions were harsh, the highlight of the trip was christening of Paul's 11x14 plate camera.

Pinhole Photography Exhibitions

Pinhole exhibition at the Underberg Studio, December 2010.

Pinhole exhibition at the Dog On A Leash Gallery, Kokstad, October 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Print - 2010 Vintage

A print made from the 1963 negative - with a little help from Photoshop!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Negative - 1963 Vintage.

One of my first attempts at landscape photography in 1963.

The unmanipulated scan is a stark reminder of the challenges facing photographers nearly fifty years ago. Graded paper, special developers and judicious burning and dodging had to be mastered in order to tame contrast and ensure a correct rendition of shadows and highlights. Very seldom was the first attempt even vaguely satisfactory - numerous test prints were required to establish correct exposure and tonal range before a good print was produced!

Spots, blemishes, scratches and other imperfections on the negatives had to be dealt with either by chemical or physical means. It certainly was a time consuming and expensive pursuit.

Today, although Photoshop and other software handles processing seamlessly, non destructively and with consummate ease, each and every procedure can be traced back to traditional darkroom techniques.

The Photographic Journey.

Looking back on an amateur and professional photographic career spanning some fifty years, it is interesting to pause for a little and contemplate the changes which have taken place - both from a technical and an aesthetic perspective.

In 1963, as a bright eyed and bushy tailed sixteen year old camera club junior member, I was introduced to the magic of black and white processing. The old veterans of the day shared their secrets with enthusiasm and a generosity of spirit that is sometimes sadly lacking in today's world.

The state of the art materials of the day were, by today's standards, rather basic. Fixed grade papers - home brewed hard and soft working developers - negative and print bleaching and intensification and a myriad of other techniques had to be mastered in order to produce images of substance and beauty.

During the last fifteen years or so the incredible strides made in photographic technology have been phenomenal, to say the least. Yes digital capture has come of age!

Powerful computers and imaging software allow contemporary photographers to match and surpass the work of the pioneers with ever increasing speed, repeatability and ease.

Yet it is the very nature of this instant medium which has sparked a desire to return to the roots of photography. Interest in the historical processes, and black and white in particular, has grown exponentially over the last decade or so. In ever greater numbers, photographers are being drawn to the slow and contemplative approach which so typifies "old fashioned" analogue photography.

I am one of them!